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SportsTalk Special: Keep calm, and trust the Boks

The 2019 Rugby World Cup has reached the business end of the tournament with the quarterfinals taking place this weekend. Buhle Madulini and John Robbie are joined by Robbi Kempson as the trio unpack South Africa’s game against host nation Japan.

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It’s that time at the Rugby World Cup when hopes take flight, or they crash and burn. The quarterfinals are packed with enticing fixtures which could swing any way.

“The World Cup starts now, everything else has been a warm-up. It doesn’t matter what has gone before, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been lucky, unlucky, hard done by, it all starts now”, says John Robbie about the quarterfinal stage.

“Japan have probably played their World Cup final against Scotland. They put a lot into that game and there is no question about the way that we're going to play. We're going to bully them, push them back with our kicking and they will have to play rugby from deep in their own half, so I’m not too concerned by this game,” adds Robbi Kempson.

Despite all the talk, Japan versus South Africa is probably the easiest one to predict of all the quarterfinals. Looking at the team coach Rassie Erasmus has chosen, there should be no surprises this time around, despite what happened in 2015, and how well the hosts have played in this tournament already.

“Regardless of what happens, these Japanese players are heroes and superheroes in Japan,” says Robbie.

The first scrum is going to be very telling, says Robbie. The Japanese will be looking to get channel one ball and get it out to the backs as quickly as possible. The Boks, on the other hand, will want to grind their opponents.

“Japan needs to do everything right to beat the Springboks and so far in the tournament, they have done everything right, they’ve played a tempo game which no one in their pool was able to stop”, says Robbie.

“The Japanese have come on in leaps and bounds since the warmup before the World Cup and South Africa are going to have to be on top form to get a result,” says Kempson.

Listen to the full podcast below: