Cheslin Kolbe has returned from an ankle injury he sustained against Italy to be named in South Africa’s starting side for their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against tournament hosts Japan on Sunday (October 20).
Kolbe, who scored two tries against Italy, missed the Springboks final Pool B match against Canada as a precaution to ensure he was ready for the quarter-finals.
Coach Rassie Erasmus had rotated his squad through the pools to ensure they all had game time before the quarter-finals but settled on the same match day squad that played against Italy with a 6-2 split between forwards and backs in the replacements.
He said his team selection was aimed at both nullifying Japan’s strengths – namely their speed on the outside – and focusing on keeping the match physical, which should favour the Springboks.
Erasmus also said he believes both teams will fancy themselves as favourites coming into the match.
Japan won the last World Cup meeting between the two teams famously four years ago in Brighton, but South Africa gained a certain level of revenge, overturning the hosts 41-7 in a World Cup warm-up match last month.
Erasmus believes both sides have improved since that encounter and Sunday’s result could be decided by who handles the pressure and expectations the best.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) 17 October 2019