Boks to face Japan
The Springboks will have a chance to exorcise the ghost of Brighton when they face Japan in a World Cup warm-up match on September 6.
SA Rugby and the Japanese Rugby Football Union (JRFU) confirmed the fixture on Monday‚ which takes the Boks’ remaining Tests before the 2019 Rugby World Cup to five.
The Test will take place at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Saitama, north of Tokyo.
The Boks will open their RWC campaign two weeks later‚ on September 21 2019‚ against defending champions‚ New Zealand‚ at the International Stadium Yokohama.
This will be only the second meeting between the Boks and Japan after the Brave Blossoms famously won the only other meeting 34-32 in Brighton at the opening game of the 2015 RWC.
“This is an ideal opportunity for the Boks to get matchready for the Rugby World Cup‚” Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said.
“Our initial plans were to only arrive in Japan for a pretournament holding camp on September 7‚ 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.
“Playing this game against the Brave Blossoms will be a wonderful way to get ready for the Rugby World Cup and we are truly grateful for the opportunity,” Erasmus said.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux also thanked the JRFU for the invitation to host the Springboks.
“This will truly be a historic occasion – not only will it be the Boks’ first-ever match in Japan‚ but also only the second time ever we face the men in red and white‚” Roux said.
“To have this fixture will definitely benefit Rassie Erasmus and his team and we would like to thank our Japanese friends for agreeing to it.”
JRFU president Tadashi Okamura said Japan were very honoured to host the Springboks in their country ahead of the 2019 RWC.
“It gives us great pleasure that the Japan national team has been given an opportunity to play against the Springboks‚ who have won the Rugby World Cup twice.
“The match takes place at an important time when teams are finalising their World Cup preparations,” Okamura said.
After the game against Japan‚ the Boks will travel southwest to Kagoshima City‚ where their pre-tournament holding camp will take place from September 7 to 13.
The Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup match schedule is (local and SA times):
Saturday September 21: South Africa vs New Zealand‚ International Stadium Yokohama (6.45pm/11.45am);
Saturday September 28: South Africa vs Namibia‚ City of Toyota Stadium (6.45pm/11.45am)
Friday October 4: South Africa vs Italy‚ Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (6.45pm/11.45am)
Tuesday October 8: South Africa vs Canada‚ Kobe Misaki Stadium (7.15pm/12.15pm) –