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Springboks to meet Japan in Rugby World Cup warm-up

Springboks to meet Japan in Rugby World Cup warm-up

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

AFP

South Africa will face the Cherry Blossoms on 6 September at the Kumagaya Stadium in Saitama.

The Springboks will play 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts Japan in Saitama on 6 September in their final warm-up match for the showpiece, South Africa Rugby announced on Monday.

The twice world champions will face the Cherry Blossoms at the Kumagaya Stadium a little over two weeks before they open their campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama.

"This is an ideal opportunity for the Boks to get match ready for the Rugby World Cup," Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus said in a statement.

"Our initial plans were to only arrive in Japan for a pre-tournament holding camp on 7 September but thanks to the JRFU we will now be leaving a week earlier, giving us almost three weeks in Japan before the start of the tournament."

Three years ago, Japan recorded the biggest upset in the Rugby World Cup history when they beat South Africa 34-32 in the pool phase of the competition in England.

World Cup warm-up

The match will provide South Africa an ideal opportunity to test their preparation ahead of the World Cup and to adapt to the island’s weather conditions.

"We are truly grateful for the opportunity to play the Brave Blossoms while getting used to the weather and other conditions," said Erasmus.

At the World Cup, South Africa will be in Pool B with New Zealand, Namibia, Italy and Canada.

Currently, the Springboks are ranked fifth in the world and are considered to be among the teams who could beat defending champions New Zealand in Japan.

South Africa lost narrowly (18-20) to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals.