We Will Be Ready, No Matter Who Says Erasmus

(Photo Credit: Jorina Raath/Speedshots.co.za)

The Springboks’ quarter-final opponents remain unclear after World Rugby announced the cancellation of the Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy as well as the match between England and France in Pool C.

The cancelled matches mean that New Zealand is confirmed as Pool B winners, edging onto 16 points ahead of South Africa’s 15.

The Springboks will play the winner of Pool A in one quarter-final. Ireland’s match with Samoa in Fukuoka on Friday night will continue as scheduled and if Ireland wins that game, they will go top of Pool A.

Japan (currently top of Pool A) is scheduled to meet Scotland (currently third) in a winner-takes-all decider in Yokohama on Sunday. If the game goes ahead and Scotland win, they would go through in second place (and meet New Zealand) while South Africa would play Ireland.

However, if Japan wins, or the match is cancelled, Japan would top the pool and therefore will meet the Springboks in the quarter-finals.

The Springboks will, therefore, face Ireland or Japan in their 2019 quarter-final. "We will prepare for both teams, but the nice thing is that we played Japan about four weeks ago, and studied them before we came here."

South Africa will have a long wait until a likely quarter-final at Tokyo Stadium on 20 October, and will not know the identity of their opponents until Sunday, when Japan take on Scotland in the final pool match of the tournament.

But Erasmus is not concerned: “We will start preparing on Friday for both teams, and watch the games together. Then it is quite exciting to watch the games after analysing them, and we will make a thing of it to spice it up a bit.

"Then, from Monday, we will have a normal test-match week, although it will be a bit longer. "We have been together for 16 weeks now, and know how to handle four-day turnarounds, 10-day turnarounds, we will be OK."