Boks go for ‘first in, last out’

The Springboks may be fluent in Japanese by the time the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off as they will be in Tokyo three weeks before the global event begins on 20 September next year.

SA Rugby on Monday announced that they had accepted an offer from Japan Rugby to schedule a pre-tournament scrimmage against the hosts on 6 September at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in what will be the Boks’ first match on Japanese soil.

“Our initial plans were to only arrive in Japan for a holding camp on 7 September,” said Bok coach Rassie Erasmus. “Thanks to the JRFU we will now be leaving one week earlier, giving us almost three weeks in Japan before the start of the tournament.

“Apart from the much-needed game time on the field, we’ll have additional time to get used to the weather and other conditions. This is an ideal opportunity for the Boks to get match-ready for the Rugby World Cup.”

South Africa’s campaign will get underway on Day Two of the World Cup, two weeks after the hit-out against Japan, when they square up against the All Blacks in Yokohama on 21 September.

The Boks have only played Japan once before and the result was, at the time, the most embarrassing loss in team history. The Brave Blossoms torpedoed South Africa’s start to the 2015 Rugby World Cup with an exhilarating 34-32 victory in Brighton.

“One of the learnings from 2015 was that there was too much time without proper match practice between the Boks’ last Test, which was against Argentina in Buenos Aires, and their opening match against Japan more than a month later,” said SA Rugby chief, Jurie Roux.

As beneficial as the warm-up match may be, three weeks is a long time to keep tight forwards entertained in a foreign country before the start of a six-week tournament.

Boks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup match schedule is (SA times):
Saturday, 21 September: SA vs NZ, International Stadium Yokohama (11.45am)
Saturday, 28 September: SA vs Namibia, City of Toyota Stadium (11.45am)
Friday, 4 October: SA vs Italy, Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (11.45am)
Tuesday, 8 October: SA vs Canada, Kobe Misaki Stadium (12.15pm)

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Barry

    I am not sure it’s a great idea!

    Having done many business trips to Japan, it’s not a place you get used to, it’s more a question of survival. The mannerisms and culture are just so different and couple this with the language barrier, it presents as almost hostile, in a civilized kind of way!

    Add to this, the fact that our team does not currently have a good away record, one surely must question why we would then want to spend more time away in a difficult environment?

    I understand the need for game time, but you certainly don’t need to travel half way around the world to get that! Why not a Springbok A side game or two, or an unofficial Namibian warm up test?

    • Jay

      You make some great points there. I do wonder though that seeing as so many of our players go play in Japan during their off season that it might not be as a hostile place to them anymore?

  • Dean

    A dress rehearsal before the biggest game of their lives. Why not? It’ll be great test match preparation instead of playing a club side. In 07 we played at least 2 warm up games, starting a month in advance. Would love to see the guys smash Japan and set the record straight. Let the rest know they are there to do the business.

    • Barry

      We’re there to win the World Cup Dean, not to beat Japan. A nine week business trip to Japan is plain suicide, I expect devised by people who have never been there. No doubt SARU making a few bucks on the side against a la Washing, but this time with the World Cup at stake!

      • Dean

        Your opinion on Japanese culture and the effect it had on you is subjective. Would it not make more sense to arrive earlier, adjust to and play rugby in those conditions? That is what they are there for. If not, then when would you have them arrive, a week prior to the All Black test? See the 07 World Cup preparations and how that worked out for Jake White and his team. You telling me more time spent in a foreign country is detrimental as opposed to less time? It takes time to adjust to another country and 3 weeks would do them good. If the Springboks were playing in Joburg at altitude, are you telling me they should train in Cape Town at sea level and then travel to Joburg a few days before a Test match? Makes no sense.

        • Barry

          Dean you need to be a bit objective, looking at the facts and not grasp for the fairytale! Discounting the opinion of someone that has experience in a given situation is plain stupid!

          The other teams are arriving one to two weeks before hand so, as your fairytale goes, they’ve all got it wrong! Any business person will tell you that traveling for 8 weeks is really a mission, so hell let’s make it 9 just to really make sure!

          The team will be together for weeks before hand so building cohesion is not an issue, nor is altitude, as you suggest!

          We only need to consider our Super Rugby Teams – every year they bitch about the four week trip to The Antipodes and complain about the travel fatigue. Well at the World Cup we’re in for double that and we add an extra week just for good measure! Any Sports Scientist will tell you that’s plain stupid!

          This is about SARU making a few million for an extra test, nothing more. It’s a commercial decision not a sports decision. I just hope we don’t come up a week short come play off’s. We face so many obstacles in our Rugby, do we really need another!

        • SweetAz

          Agree with you on this one, like I always say, the biggest difference between winning teams and losing ones at this level is the team spirit and cohesion. Three weeks together should give them ample time to bond and form partnerships. This tournament will be won by the team with the most desire and whose players are all on the same page.

          • Barry

            Cohesion is certainly an essential ingredient, but no less so the Sports Science elements!

            The point I make is that you don’t need to be in Japan for an extra week to create cohesion, this can be done just as well in a more localized setting!

            In reality, you can have all the gees in the world, but if your players are mentally fatigued, your not going to win!

            This decision has a “rush of blood” feel to it. I don’t believe it is Erasmus’s doing. He is a maticulous planner

      • Koos van Graan

        SA will do very well in the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Infact, I am certain they will take the Cup again.
        Being kind of like rhe underdogs right now, they have as good of a change to take it as what Ireland, Wales, England and even Australia has to sweep up the Rugby World Cup.
        Even better, and Im not supersticious at all, they tend to hit back every 12 years….1995, 2007, 2019…
        They have what it takes and Rassie is the man for the job at hand…
        Lets support them and lets be in this 2019 Worldcup as much as they need us…

  • Irene May Prinsloo

    I know that The Springboks will do us proud as a Country so I think we should stand all the way behind them and pray for them and show them we care and support them all the way.

  • SweetAz

    LOL,-It doesn’t matter anyway. They have an idiot coach, they can only play domkrag, They have too many imported players, they don’t have enough Lions players.

    See—I didn’t even need 50 lines to reproduce what’s coming from Schrodinger’s cat.

    • Herman Schroder?

      Poor old SweetAz, running out of ideas and now borrowing from other posters, pretty pathetic. I agree though they didn’t have enough Lions players or a decent coach or an effective expansive game plan. If they had those things they wouldn’t have bombed this year. Too late now but never mind next year is 10 YEARS since our last trophy win and we are still dwaaling around in a dom krag haze. None so blind …………….. Cheers.

      • SweetAz

        Well, how come your Lions have—-wait for it———–ZERO TROPHY’s, NADA, not even one.?

        • Albert

          “Because of Jackass Peyper and his ridiculous red card. Were it not for Jackass Peyper, my cat would be alive.” There Schrodinger, no need to comment with a 1000 word essay. :)

  • Herman Schroder?

    Like 2015 another easy pool. NZ No 1, Boks 5 ( maybe 7th by WC time ), Italy 15th, Canada 20th and Namibia 22nd. Or is it ? Japan whom we play in a ‘friendly’ match have beaten us and Italy as well in recent years. Japan with a great NZ coaching team will be super competitive and most of this year teams that are ‘super’ competitive usually beat us. England beat us twice, Wales twice, Australia, Argentina and the easiest of the lot a small backwater country, NZ, go figure.

    But I suppose it’s water under the bridge now and two trophies are at stake next year. A single round RC and a WC campaign awaits the not so consistent Boks. In my humble opinion Rassie and his charges will have to improve two fold to match the big boys because there has just not been enough smarts from the coach or players to match those other countries. Can Rassie change track ? I doubt it but good luck to the Boks because a decade without a trophy will be just too hard to bear and place us firmly in the ‘failed nations’ category. Cheers.

    • Matt

      You make is sound like we regularly got thumped and outclassed by 30+pts plus this past season Mr Schroder.

      On another note. I rather like the commentary from the blokes on the1014 and their youtube vids. Best rugga content on the plant at the moment for sure.

      Any opinion/thoughts on what the blokes over at the1014 have had to say about the Springboks and ol’ Rassie?

      • SweetAz

        Wasting your time Matt, there’s no arguing with stupid.

        • Just Saying

          The best answer to a fool is silence.

          How can anybody go through life being that negative?

          • SweetAz

            Yeah, you are probably right, but he just grinds my gears. There always seems to be THAT one person with a punchable face and demeanour, you see them at braai’s and parties approaching groups of people and the group just splits up and goes elsewhere to avoid them, that’s my impression of Herman, the kind of person who irritates every living creature he comes into contact with, I’m sure if he had a dog it would probably run away from home.

  • Albert

    In my humble opinion, this is a good idea. There is always a risk of travel fatigue of course. Japan play a fast paced game due to their NZ coaches which would set us up very well for the first match against NZ. Our boys will definitely not be undercooked and may even surprise NZ if we have the fitness and skills for a faster paced game.

    But, like everything else in SA, if it works then Rassie is a genius, if it fails then he is a failure and Schrodinger’s cat will continue to be both alive and dead.

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