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Erasmus unsure about prospect of Japan joining Rugby Championship

Despite dominating possession and playing their characteristic high tempo style, Japan was not able to breakdown the Springbok defence and was restricted to scoring just a single penalty.

FILE: South Africa's head coach Rassie Erasmus speaks to the media in a post-match presser after the Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 27 July 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said that he would be open to Japan joining the Rugby Championship but was unsure about the logistical issues that their inclusion could create.

South Africa booked their spot in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup with a hard-fought 26-3 win over the hosts on Sunday.

Despite dominating possession and playing their characteristic high tempo style, Japan was not able to breakdown the Springbok defence and was restricted to scoring just a single penalty.

The hosts had received a lot of praise in the build-up to the quarterfinal clash and rightly so, having come through the pool stages unbeaten, picking up victories over the likes of Ireland and Scotland.

Japan also became the first Asian nation to reach the knockout stages of the tournament despite being a tier two-nation and only playing limited matches and competing in just two tournaments (The Pacific Nations Cup and the Asia Rugby Championship).

When asked at the post-match press conference what he thought of their potential inclusion, Erasmus was not convinced that it could work.

“It would be interesting and a good debate to have. The style of play that they implement would be something interesting. It looks like a nice proposition but I'm not sure it would be logistically and financially possible, would it make sense broadcasting wise and travel wise”, he said.

“I do know the brand they play is pretty exciting and it would really fit in but apart from that, I would be really stupid to comment because I am not part of those discussions,” he said.

South Africa, though, will turn their attention to the semifinal clash against Wales on Sunday, one that Erasmus said would be a great battle.

“They are a team with a lot of X-factor, they have created depth in every single position and they have good confidence and team spirit”, he said.

The last four match against Wales is set to kick off at 11am on Sunday.

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