Japan vs South Africa: Rugby World Cup 2019 TV : Where to Watch Japan vs. South Africa, TV Channel, Live Stream and Odds World Cup match Japan vs South Africa (20 Oct 2019). Preview and stats followed by live commentary, video highlights and match report.
Four years ago, Japan delivered arguably the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history when they defeated South Africa 34-32 with a late try in the opening game.
The Cherry Blossoms, perfectly orchestrated by Eddie Jones, humbled the Springboks with a display of courage and skill that took the two-time champions by surprise.
Frustratingly for them, however, Japan lost to Scotland in its second game and ultimately failed to qualify for the quarterfinals, finishing third in Pool B, two points behind the Scots.
Fast forward four years and the tables have turned. Japan topped Pool A with 19 points, beating Ireland and Scotland en route to its first-ever quarterfinal appearance at a Rugby World Cup.
Standing between the hosts and a historic first semifinal is the same team the Cherry Blossoms defeated in that epic encounter in England in 2015.
Even taking into account their success four years ago, the prospect of Japan reaching the last four would have been dismissed at best as sheer fantasy before the tournament began.
After all, the win over the Springboks in 2015 hadn’t quite acted as the springboard some expected it would prove to be. By Sunday night, however, it may no longer even be Japan’s most famous triumph over South Africa.
The hosts’ run to the quarterfinals might be surprising, but it is no fluke. Only Wales has amassed as many points as Japan so far—admittedly England, New Zealand and France could have matched the total had their last pool games not been canceled because of Typhoon Hagibis—and as Ireland and Scotland have found out, Japan has all it takes to upset more established rugby nations.
Brilliantly led by captain Michael Leitch, the hosts combine skillful offloads with high-pace rugby and a penchant for the risk that has swiftly earned them a spot in neutrals’ hearts.
“We know we will need to outwit South Africa,” Japan’s flanker Uwe Helu said in a press conference this week. “They are a physical team and we have to be smarter in how we attack.
“We know where the space is, how to identify defenders and exploit them. They are different to other teams in that they work as a group when they attack, coming at you in twos and threes. We will keep tackling and come at them every time.”
Quite aptly, South Africa represents the polar opposite of Japan in rugby terms. Where Japan takes on its opponents with a rapier, the two-time champions are closer to a giant club smashing everything in its path.
It would be reductive, however, to dismiss the Springboks as a team totally lacking in finesse.
In Cheslin Kolbe South Africa has one of the world’s most dazzling winger, but the team’s favorite currency remains destructive power at the set pieces and in the ruck.
After lacking direction for years, the Springboks have again found their mojo under Rassie Erasmus.
South Africa might have lost to New Zealand in their opening game but remain the bookmakers’ second favorite, after the All Blacks, to win the World Cup.
Erasmus, who took over as coach in 2018, suggested he was far from shocked by Japan’s progress.