The game at Brighton has been erased, says Eras­mus

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - Wel­com­ing: Rassie Eras­mus has loved Ja­pan, but now the Spring­boks are out to up­set the hosts

South Africa head coach Rassie Eras­mus in­sists his side are no longer haunted by the “Mir­a­cle of Brighton” ahead of their quar­ter­fi­nal clash against Ja­pan.

The Spring­boks lost 34-32 to Ja­pan in the pool stages of the last World Cup. Since then South Africa have beaten Jamie Joseph’s side 41-7 in Ku­ma­gaya in a World Cup warm-up match.

“The rea­son for that Ja­panese warm-up was to erase the Brighton game so if we played them in the play-offs that match would hope­fully not get men­tioned again,” Eras­mus said. “It is 1-1 now and we have a quar­ter-fi­nal against a re­ally tough team. That game [Brighton] is in the past now.”

Yet Eras­mus says the warm-up match will have no bear­ing on the game in the Tokyo Sta­dium on Sun­day. Ja­pan are rid­ing the crest of a wave af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the quar­ter-fi­nals for the first time by win­ning all their group games.

“In that warm-up game, there was no pres­sure,” Eras­mus said. “We def­i­nitely won’t be able to go with the same plan that we went into the warm-up game with.”

Eras­mus also con­firmed that winger Ch­es­lin Kolbe would be fit to play on Sun­day in a game which should be a fas­ci­nat­ing clash of styles. Eras­mus has noth­ing but ad­mi­ra­tion for the way that the Brave Blos­soms have played in this tour­na­ment or for how Ja­pan have hosted the event, par­tic­u­larly in the wake of Typhoon Hag­ibis. Yet that re­spect will not get in the way of the Spring­boks’ at­tempt to reach the semi-fi­nals.

“It is re­ally tough not to like Ja­panese peo­ple,” Eras­mus said. “The way they have ac­cepted all teams, not just South Africa, in terms of adopt­ing you as a city wher­ever we have stayed, putting on South African jer­seys and mak­ing you feel at home. It is some­thing spe­cial which I have never ex­pe­ri­enced in my life be­fore.

“The way they have han­dled the typhoon, and I know there are a lot of losses both in lives and dif­fer­ent ways, in many forms, and our con­do­lences as the Spring­boks are with those peo­ple. It shows the strength of Ja­panese peo­ple to still host the game and then beat a team like Scot­land.

“Say­ing that, we are play­ing for our coun­try and we want to win the World Cup. Un­for­tu­nately, for the next week Ja­pan is the en­emy. We love the coun­try and the peo­ple but we have to try and beat them. We will have to play re­ally well be­cause they are ranked sev­enth in the world and they de­serve it.”

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