Rugby World Cup: Scotland brace for Japan challenge

The Boks would be looking to make an impact against Samoa, but given the history between the two sides it is likely to be a bruising affair which won’t be as entertaining as their opener.


Jones has made six changes to the side which stunned the Springboks, with Amanaki Lelei Mafi replacing injured number eight Hendrick Tui. They were obviously looking for that result and they got it because they worked hard. But questions have to be asked just how much the win over the Springboks took out of them mentally.

“We definitely weren’t surprised. Definitely”. Ever since they started featuring in the 1991 World Cup, Japan’s record in this tournament was played 24, won one, drawn one and lost 22.

But Jones had a different assessment.

“It’s their first game, so there could be a little bit of rustiness, but I’m sure they’ve had a bit of time to look into it”, Ives said.

However White, like many South Africans, was disappointed by the Bok defeat to Japan – a team ranked considerably lower than the former world champions.

Japan delivered a massive shock on the second day of the tournament to throw South Africa’s campaign into turmoil with a brilliant display for rugby. “We were just hugging and shouting, unbelievable… memories for the rest of our lives”, Ives said. “We’ve been targeting this game for a long time – it’s been what pre-season has been about”.

Jones concluded: “We don’t have any excuses”.

Scotland’s World Cup group has been “blown wide open” by Japan’s shock win over South Africa, lock Grant Gilchrist claims. To accomplish that, Jones believes his players will have to start the match well at Kingsholm Stadium. They have had two and a half weeks since their last game.

Tries by Francois Louw and Bismarck du Plessis for the Springboks came on the back of expertly driven mauls, with Japan responding with a drive of their own, finished off by the incredible Michael Leitch.

And 2007 hero coach Jake White had his say yesterday: “We have become an ordinary team”.

Dozens of Japanese journalists have flown in to Gloucester while media personnel from other countries have also hurriedly arranged to attend in case lightning strikes twice.

‘People in Gloucester know their rugby, so hopefully we’ll get a lot of support from the local crowd.

“We knew they were going to be tough but that we had to concentrate on the way we play”.


“We know there will be probably be a backlash, but we’re going to be ready for it”, he said as the Pacific Islanders began preparations for the clash.

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