2019 Rugby World Cup Quarterfinals: Japan vs South Africa

Seventh-ranked Japan will face fifth-ranked South Africa at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo on Sunday, 20 October. Kickoff is at 19:15 local (06:15 ET). In the U.S, the match may be viewed on-demand on NBC Sports Gold and in Canada on TSN 1 and 4.


Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made minimal changes for their team’s first-ever World Cup quarter-final, against South Africa on Sunday.

Ryohei Yamanaka, who started against Ireland but was on the bench against Scotland, starts at full-back in place of William Tupou, who drops out of the 23.

Second-row Wimpie van der Walt and winger Lomano Lemeki return to the bench alongside number eight Amanaki Lelei Mafi, who is available for the first time since coming off injured against Ireland. Second-row Uwe Helu and flanker Hendrik Tui were not included in the matchday 23.

Prop Jiwon Koo starts at tight-head after coming off with a rib injury in the first half against Scotland.

South Africa

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has made 13 changes to the starting XV from the victory against Canada.

Tendai Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi retain their spots in the front row, with Lood de Jager moving from the bench from the opening match loss against New Zealand.

The starting XV has 665 caps, the most in a Springbok team since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The team selected to meet Japan contains five players with 50 or more caps in Willie le Roux, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, centurion Mtawarira, and Duane Vermeulen, who wins 50th cap as a No 8, a Springbok record. There are another four players in the 40s in Kolisi, De Jager, De Allende, and Handré Pollard.

Twelve of the starting XV and 21 of the 23 were in the team that beat Japan 41-7 in Kumagaya, Japan, six weeks ago.

Erasmus again announced a six-two replacement split in favor of the forwards, rather than the traditional five-three that was used against the Azzurri.

The Springboks are aiming to reach the Rugby World Cup semi-finals for the fifth time in seven appearances while, for Japan, it is their first appearance in the play-off rounds at the ninth attempt.

The winner will play the victor in the France v Wales match in Yokohama on Sunday, 27 October.


Japan: 1. Keita Inagaki 2. Shota Horie 3. Jiwon Koo 4. Luke Thompson 5. James Moore 6. Michael Leitch (capt.) 7. Pieter Labuschagne 8. Kazuki Himeno 9. Yutaka Nagare 10. Yu Tamura 11. Kenki Fukuoka 12. Ryoto Nakamura 13. Timothy Lafaele 14. Kotaro Matsushima 15. Ryohei Yamanaka 16. Atsushi Sakate 17. Isileli Nakajima 18. Asaeli Ai Valu 19. Wimpie van der Walt 20. Amanaki Lelei Mafi 21. Fumiaki Tanaka 22. Rikiya Matsuda 23. Lomano Lava Lemeki

South Africa: 1. Tendai Mtawarira 2. Bongi Mbonambi  3. Frans Malherbe 4. Eben Etzebeth 5. Lood de Jager 6. Siya Kolisi (capt) 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit  8. Duane Vermeulen  9. Faf de Klerk 10. Handré Pollard 11. Makazole Mapimpi 12. Damian de Allende 13. Lukhanyo Am 14. Cheslin Kolbe 15. Willie le Roux 16. Malcolm Marx  17. Steven Kitshoff 18. Vincent Koch 19. RG Snyman  20. Franco Mostert 21. Francois Louw  22. Herschel Jantjies  23. Frans Steyn

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England) Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England) TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant