Japan v South Africa: Jamie Joseph promises Rugby World Cup surprise

Jamie Joseph
Jamie Joseph represented both New Zealand and Japan during his playing career
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Japan v South Africa
Venue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Sunday, 20 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online with text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Coach Jamie Joseph says Japan will have the element of surprise against South Africa after he named his side for Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

While the Springboks have picked a powerful pack and six forward replacements, Joseph believes his team's tactics are not so obvious.

"It is clear what South Africa are going to do," he said.

"What is not so clear is what we are going to do; that is what I am looking forward to."

Ryohei Yamanaka's inclusion at full-back in place of William Tupou is the only change to the starting XV that beat Scotland in their final Pool A game last weekend.

Wing Kotaro Matsushima, hooker Shota Horie, second row Luke Thompson, prop Keita Inagaki, fly-half Yu Tamura and captain Michael Leitch were all part of the squad that famously upset South Africa in the teams' pool-stage meeting in Brighton four years ago.

The relaxed mood in the Japan camp shows as hooker Horie beats Joseph in a game of rock paper scissor.

Joseph said his players' confidence at the tournament has grown so much through their four successive wins - including victories over Scotland and Ireland - that he has had less to do as they prepare for the last eight.

"The players have really taken over," he said. "It is a really good sign as a coach when you feel a little redundant because you know there is real belief in your team."

Japan: Yamanaka; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Fukuoka; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Koo, Thompson, Moore, Leitch (c), Labuschagne, Himeno.

Replacements: Sakate, Nakajima, Ai Valu, Van der Walt, Lelei Mafi, Tanaka, Matsuda, Lava Lemeki

Star player - Kotaro Matsushima

Matsushima World Cup stats so far

Dynamic winger Kotaro Matsushima scored five tries in the pool stage, the joint most with Wales' Josh Adams. He also ranked second for both metres made (350) and breaks (11), and fourth for both defenders beaten (22) and carries (48).

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Hottest ticket in town - Irish and Japanese fans face quarter-final swap

Extra time, sudden death or kicking competition?

What happens if there's a draw?
If scores are tied at full time teams will play 10 minutes of extra time each way
If there's still no winner 10 minutes of sudden death will follow where the first team to score wins
Finally if the scores are still tied a best-of-five place-kicking competition will take place

Match stats

  • This will be the third time Japan and South Africa have met in Test rugby, Japan beating the Springboks 34-32 at the 2015 World Cup before South Africa secured a comfortable 41-7 victory in a warm-up game for this World Cup
  • Japan's victory over South Africa in 2015 was their first against a tier-one nation in the tournament at their 16th attempt, they have won two of their three such games since (v Ireland and Scotland in 2019).
  • Japan have won six consecutive Rugby World Cup matches, only Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England have enjoyed longer winning runs in the tournament
  • South Africa scored more tries (27) and points (185) than any other side in the pool stages, their tally of 27 tries is more than double the amount Japan scored (13)
  • South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe averaged 12.8 metres per carry in the pool stage, the best rate of any player to make 10+ carries, Japan's Kenki Fukuoka (12.3m) ranked second in this statistic
  • Japan's Kazuki Himeno won more jackal turnovers (5) than any other player in the pool stage, including two in their crucial win over Scotland
  • Japan made 559 metres in their pool stage victory against Scotland, the third time at the 2019 Rugby World Cup they had made 500+ metres in a match, South Africa and Australia are the only other sides to manage this
  • South Africa won 47 out of 47 line-outs on their own throw in the pool stages, the only side in the tournament to maintain a 100% success rate at this set piece
  • Yu Tamura both kicked (19) and missed (8) more shots at goal than any other player in the pool stages, giving him a kicking success rate of 70%

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