Ajinomoto Stadium hosts an absolute cracker this weekend, as the Rugby World Cup quarterfinalists lock horns.
The teams doing battle on Sunday are Japan and South Africa; a rematch of the historic 2015 clash which most deem as the greatest comeback in the history of the tournament.
Unfortunately, as valiant and fantastical as Jamie Joseph’s men have been so far, our Japan vs South Africa predictions wager that this latest venture will be one too many for the hosts.
Indeed, the might of the SpringBok has been paramount throughout the competition. And if there’s anything we’ve learnt from them down the years, they possess the firepower to snuff out even the most endearing of fairy-tales.
So if it isn’t our Rugby World Cup 2019 predictions, why not read the projections below?
Japan vs South Africa Predictions
After a horrific week where typhoon Hagibis wreaked havoc upon the Japanese coastlands and cities, the Rugby World Cup permutations stood firm to allow the hosts to play their way to their first-ever quarterfinal.
The only thing standing in their way was a Scotland team who had pleaded and begged the World Cup representatives to ensure that the match could go ahead. Like their opponents, only a win would do, otherwise, they would be facing another premature exit from the proceedings.
But where Gregor Townsend’s men may have expected a subdued performance from Japan in the aftermath of an intense few days, the Cherry Blossoms brought a storm of pace, ingenuity, and entertainment to the first-half proceedings.
And the Scots could hardly keep up, such was the relentless nature of the Japanese attack.
From left to right, right to left, down the middle, the swathes of possessive play finally led to the points that the hosts so dearly wanted. And through none other than the talented Kenki Fukuoka.
The 27-year-old weaved his way through the Scottish defence and with the help of Kotaro Matsushima got Japan up and running.
From there on, the pressure was on Townsend and his team. Whether it was Matsushima’s individual brilliance to Fukuoka’s conversions, the hosts were well on their way to quarterfinal celebrations.
Pause all that though, for the Scottish fightback, which is where our Japan vs South Africa predictions fear the hosts could be undone this weekend.
Indeed, the Scots were able to power themselves back into the game with a few sharp substitutions and clever passing.
And then, quicker than you could say Hagibis, the 16-point lead was narrowed to 10, and then to one try.
What the likes of Jonny Gray and Scott Cumming proved was that this Japan side could be undone by the same tactics that they used against Townsend and co.
Unfortunately for the Cherry Blossoms, in South Africa, they face a side much more adept in doing exactly that.
You only have to look at the performance that Rassie Erasmus’ men produced against Canada to believe in our projections. With 10 tries, hat-tricks galore, and attacking capabilities akin to that of the Kiwis, a dominant display by the SpringBok was all that was needed as preparation for this Sunday’s clash with the World Cup hosts.
From Damien de Allende to S’busiso Nikosi, the tries came from all over the squad. Just like Japan, the South African’s pace and inventiveness were simply too much to handle.
And going by our forecast, Joseph’s men may have a similar issue to face this weekend.
Japan vs South Africa Head To Head
Surprisingly, the teams have only ever met twice, which provides further fuel to our Japan vs South Africa predictions.
Sure, the opening match of pool B in the 2015 World Cup edition, featuring that oh-so-famous upset, was one of them.
But the SpringBok would have been proud of the opening half performance they fielded prior to the defensive collapse. And as history has taught them never to upset the Japanese, they will have learnt a thing or two about Joseph’s setup.
This latest escapade will provide the form guides with a lot of evidence. Can Japan reenact the form they showcased four years ago, and indeed last weekend? Or will Erasmus’ men be able to claim the victory as theirs?
All the proof suggests the latter, by the narrowest of margins.
Japan Team News
Yet, the Cherry Blossoms do have one thing riding in their favour – a clean bill of health across the squad.
Which isn’t an issue considering that Joseph had to field a pretty strong lineup against Scotland last weekend, needing a win to stay in the tournament.
Expect the same crop of experienced players to feature this Sunday, with a careful mix of youth to keep things interesting for the visitors.
Whether its Fukuoka or Kazuki Himeno, our Japan vs South Africa predictions are expecting the side to cause the SpringBok issues – even if that doesn’t result in the first semifinal in Japan’s history.
South Africa Team News
Meanwhile, Erasmus has bigger fish to fry.
Talisman Cheslin Kobe and Herschel Jantjies are both expected to be fit for South Africa’s trek to the Ajinomoto Stadium.
The duo have been looking sharp and promising in training. So much so, that Erasmus himself has stated:
“We will have our first full training session in preparation for Japan tomorrow. We expect them to come through the training session so I would say they are 99 percent ready.”
And given that internally the team has been selected, there’s no way Kobe or Jantjies aren’t playing a part in the action.
Especially given what’s at stake this Sunday.
Japan vs South Africa Betting Tips
Even the betting tipsters are wagering in the favour of a narrow win for the SpringBok. Indeed, in line with our Japan vs South Africa predictions, Erasmus’ men are trading as a7/50 pick.
Meanwhile, the Cherry Blossoms are operating as 21/4 underdogs, with the chances of a draw unfolding weighing in at odds of 32/1 in our Japan vs South Africa match bets.
All in all, while Erasmus’ men are expected to emerge victoriously, it won’t be without having to go to war with the hosts, hellbent on continuing their march towards greater World Cup historical feats.