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Rugby World Cup: South Africa crush Namibia, Japan upset Ireland

Ecstatic Japan players

Japan's stunning victory over Japan's victory put the host nation in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages and it will surely lead to an explosion of interest in Japan.

“Thank you for today!” Japan hooker Shota Horie said to the crowd after being named man of the match. “Thanks to your cheers, I was able to run to the last centimeter, the last millimeter.

“The tournament is still going on, let's fight calmly and let's fight together. Thank you for today! ”

I believe we can create history in Japan.

Veteran forward Luke Thompson echoed those sentiments.

"I'm so happy but just not finished yet," he said. “We will concentrate on the Samoa game from tomorrow. We practiced the breakdown a lot. Good team work today. I'm happy. "

Coach Jamie Joseph said the stunning victory, which matched the upset of the two world champions South Africa at the last World Cup in 2015, had long been in the planning.

"We're ecstatic about the result," the New Zealander said.

“We are really proud of the players, we have had a plan, we have been training for a long time. We've been thinking about this game for quite some time, obviously Ireland have been thinking about it for the last six or seven days.

"We just got another couple of games to go but we just enjoy tonight I reckon."

Japan next face Samoa on Oct.5.

South Africa vs Namibia

South Africa claimed their first victory at the Rugby World Cup, emerging a 57-3 victory over Namibia at the Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

South Africa ensured that there would be no repeat of the upset earlier in the day by Japan, who beat Ireland as they ran in nine tries in a slick display.

The Springboks face Italy on Friday in Fukuroi City in a match that should decide second place in the pool, while Namibia face the daunting prospect of meeting New Zealand in Tokyo on Oct. 6.

Japan upset Ireland

Hosts Japan stunned Ireland 19-12 in an extraordinary set-up on Saturday to win their second match of the Rugby World Cup and give themselves a strong chance of reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium to beat a recently ranked number one in the world in a shock to beat their two-time South Africa champions at the 2015 World Cup.

Namibia relishing opportunity to take on Boxing

Namibia's minnows take on their South African neighbors in what they believe will be an exciting Rugby World Cup encounter.

“The nerves are sky-high, something I've been dreaming of my whole life. I just explain the feeling, it just feels very big, ”Namibia center PJ Walters told reporters on Friday.

Walters, who made his international debut off the bench against Italy in the 47-22 loss last Sunday, says his main goal is not to "try anything stupid".

He played in fullback position against Italy, but will line up at Toyota Stadium City inside center and will likely have a busy evening as the much fancied Springboks batter the Namibia defensive line with their powerful runners.

As for a gameplan, he said his focus is on sticking to coach Phil Davies' instructions.

“Stick to the basics… do everything we've been training on in the last few months. And don't try anything stupid! ”

There is a chance that Namibians' enthusiasm might get the better of them and in a World Cup where overzealous, high tackles are already a major talking point, Walters says players are well aware of the consequences.

“On our minds (about high tackles), you know you can get cited. The low cut is the best tackle you can get, so we just have to stick with that, ”he said.

Walters, 26, is one of many players in the Namibia squad who have been exposed to South African rugby through their schooling and studies.

Born in the tiny southern Namibian town of Keetmanshoop, he was schooled across the Upington border in South Africa's Northern Cape.

He was part of the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions academy but never managed to break into the professional scene in the country.

That failure makes Saturday's clash all the more remarkable for Walters, giving him a chance to prove himself, and perhaps put himself in the shop window for professional South African and European clubs.

“When I got the news (of a World Cup call-up) I was having a braai with my cousin and just chilling. Coming from where I came from, it was a very, very big thing for me, ”he said.

“There will be no love lost on Saturday because it is against our neighbors, but we also represent Africa together.

"I just think it will be a great clash, a great atmosphere and a great opportunity for us (as players)."

New Zealand, Ireland are good: Boxing

South Africa's coaching staff say New Zealand and Ireland have been the most impressive teams at the Rugby World Cup so far, adding that the Springboks emerged stronger from their 23-13 loss to defending champions.

"Apart from New Zealand they were the only other team to put together a full 80 minutes of constructive, well-planned, decisive and clinical rugby (in the opening matches)," said Bok coach Rassie Erasmus.

“Physically and tactically they were really good, the same as New Zealand. Those are the two teams that I think have been really consistent over the last two years and they will both be really tough opponents. ”

We are stronger: Boxing

The Springboks dominated much of their match against New Zealand on Sept. 21 but were undone by two tries in four minutes from the world champions, both coming from South African errors in fielding high balls.

'' I know it's a cliché that everyone says when they lose, 'we learn a lot out of it', but we did. For us it was a great match in terms of tactical, physical and getting challenged in all departments, '' Erasmus said.

“Mentally… the build-up during the week, the enormousness of the game, the physicality and speed. You know if you play the All Blacks and you make two mistakes, it's 14 points (against you), so it was nice to play in a game where there is so much pressure. "

The Boks are next in action against minnow neighbors Namibia in Toyota City on Sept. 28 and have made 13 changes to their side in what is expected to be a comfortable win.

South Africa are widely expected to breeze to a bonus-point win over Namibia, which lost its opener 47-22 to Italy, but Nienaber said there are no specific targets in the game other than to put in a performance that shows what the team has worked on in training.

“We had an unbelievable vibe at training in terms of intensity and the things we wanted to fix. Our system will develop and New Zealand will open up something in the way they attack and their style of play we have to work on, so it was nice to get that (challenge). ”

"We're always trying to improve, so there is no point limit, or to say, 'if we only concede three points that would be a good defensive performance', or 'if we concede 30 I will be disappointed'.

New Zealand regains top rank

Defending champions New Zealand are back at the top of the world rankings, following their Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa.

The All Blacks' decade-long reign at world number one team came to an end last month, first losing the mantle to the 2019 Six Nations champions Wales and then to Ireland.

According to the intricacies of how the standings are calculated, New Zealand would have returned to the summit with a win over their Rugby Championship rivals, regardless of how Ireland did against Scotland, World Rugby said.

In the event, the world champions beat the Springboks 23-13 while Ireland cruised past the Scots 27-3.

South Africa's defeat pushes them down to fifth, below Wales who start their World Cup campaign later on Monday against Georgia. France's dramatic victory over Argentina pushed them ahead of Scotland into seventh spot.

Rugby fans react to opening weekend

Namibia impress despite loss

Namibia impressed many rugby fans and pundits, despite falling to a 47-22 loss against Italy in their Pool B opener at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka on Sunday.

Italy scored three tries within 10 minutes of either halftime side giving themselves some breathing room against a stubborn Namibia side.

Namibia, who have now lost all 20 of their World Cup matches, still managed to give the crowd something to cheer on with scrumhalf Damian Stevens and wingers J.C. Greyling and Chad Plato.

The Italians now travel to Fukuoka to meet Canada on Thursday, while Namibia face South Africa in Toyota City on Saturday.

South Africa lose New Zealand clash

New Zealand emerged a 23-13 victory over South Africa in a clash between two World Cup favorites on Saturday that never quite lived up to its billing.

Having wrestled the Rugby Championship from their rivals last month, South Africa pinned a scrappy New Zealand back for 20 minutes but, with only three points to show for it, the Springboks were left stunned by two scintillating team tries from wing George Bridge and lock Scott Barrett.

The All Blacks, who have an 11-day break before their next game against Canada, should head to Pool B and hope for an easier quarter-final as a result. South Africa next face Namibia in Toyota City.

"It was a full 80 minutes and right at the end of the test match we had to work hard," New Zealand captain Kieran Read said.

"Good fortune sometimes happens and in those two moments we managed to take them and that made the difference in the game."

Read suggested that a greasy ball coming off the Yokohama pitch had made life difficult for the players.

"We had to defend early, but when we got the opportunity we tried to speed up the game a bit but it was pretty tough out there with the conditions."

The Springboks had the physicality to match New Zealand but not the precision, with too many missed tackles, at times aimless kicking and poor hands under the high ball giving away territory.

"We started well and they did, handling our kicking game really well," Bok captain Siya Kolisi said.

“And a little bit of their physicality as well, I think we took too long to get into the game.

"We stuck to our guns in the second half and we scored first, like we planned, but we capitalized on our opportunities."

Weekend fixtures

Africa's representatives at the World Cup, South Africa and Namibia, who are both in Pool B, will be in action this weekend.

South Africa's Springboks will take on defending champions New Zealand All-Blacks on Saturday, while Namibia take on Italy on Sunday.

Japan wins World Cup opener

Hosts Japan on Friday won the tournament opener against Russia, running out 30-10 winners after being given an early scare by the Russians.

Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick of tries, as the hosts recovered from conceding an early try.

After an opening ceremony featuring a dazzling laser light show and appearances by Crown Prince Akishino and All Blacks great Richie McCaw, there were quickly a few fireworks on the pitch.

The Russians, set up as sacrificial lambs for the opening party, stunned the noisy crowd of 48,745 into silence when they made a Japanese mistake and scored the first try through winger Kirill Golosnitskiy in the fourth minute.

Man of the Match Matsushima replied with Japan's first try seven minutes later but it wasn't until he went for his second just before the break that the home-side error took the lead at 12-7.

Japan looked more direct after the break and flanker Pieter Labuschagne soon extended the lead with an individual effort, stripping the ball from an opponent and then running a third of the pitch to touchdown under the posts.

Russia kept coming to the home side but 12 minutes from time Matsushima again showed his pace on the outside to secure the bonus point that might be key to Japan's hopes of advancing from Pool A, which also includes Ireland, Scotland and Samoa.

"You get out there and realize just how much pressure there is on the night," Japan coach Jamie Joseph told reporters.

"Our kicking game was pretty poor tonight so I was going to fix it up quickly," he added, concluding that his team made a lot of unforced errors.

The Russians next take on Samoa on Sept. 24, while Japan go up against No. 1-ranked Irish in Fukuroi City on Sept. 28 in a match the hosts will be desperate to win if they want to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time. time.

They will need a much-improved performance to get anywhere near what would be a stunning upset to rank with their win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

New Zealand focused on South Africa clash

Defending New Zealand champions say they are focusing all their energy on the World Cup opener against South Africa on Saturday, which they consider to be their most challenging match.

The two old rivals, who have won the World Cup five times between them, meet in Yokohama to kick-start the tournament and set a marker for the weeks to come.

With Italy, Namibia and Canada the other teams in Pool B, regardless of Saturday's result New Zealand and South Africa would expect to qualify for the quarter-finals.

That means the All Blacks, who are chasing a third consecutive World Cup, will be holding nothing back on Saturday.

"We're not really thinking too far ahead in this tournament right now because this weekend is a pretty big weekend, right?" Assistant coach Ian Foster said on Tuesday.

“And that kind of made it really good for us as coaches because we could just put all our energy into that first game.

"Whichever way it goes then I guess we can sort out the plan that we follow after that."

South Africa come into the tournament having only lost once in their last seven matches, including a draw with New Zealand in July. The Springboks were victorious when the two sides met in Wellington this time last year.

That means New Zealand are the threat posed by coach Rassie Erasmus' team and are looking at the match more as a standalone competition than a World Cup tone setter.

"We are at a heightened state always when we play South Africa," said Foster. "I know the World Cup is great but I guess our focus has been on this game for a while."


South Africa calls for fairness

South Africa's Springboks on Monday called on French referee Jerome Garces to treat them as equals during this weekend's opening Pool B blockbuster clash with defending New Zealand champions.

Assistant South Africa coach Mzwandile Stick said that with the gap between the All Blacks and their potential rivals closing for the Webb Ellis Cup, match officials need to be consistent in how they apply the laws to all teams.

In the past, World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, a loose wizard, was often accused of influencing referees to rule in his favor at the breakdown.

"The fans are excited about this one and are looking forward to it," former South Africa sevens specialist Stick said of Saturday's show in Yokohama.

"Hopefully the officials will probably treat everything equally and respect the game as well as the respect of the fans."

South Africa topped New Zealand in this year's Rugby Championship and Ireland are currently ranked number one but Stick said the All Blacks remain the team to beat.

"If you look at past history when it comes to the All Blacks, they have been dominant at Test level and always the case that when they go to the World Cup they are favorites," he said.

Recent history between the Boks, who are blooming under coach Rassie Erasmus, and Steve Hansen's All Blacks promises to make for a tight encounter on Saturday.

"Things are a lot more balanced between us or New Zealand right now," Stick said.

“We can't ask for any better build-up to the World Cup: if you look at the last three games we played against the All Blacks, in Wellington last year we won by two points, they came to Pretoria and won by two points, and then we drew against them again this year in Wellington.

"We are looking forward to this challenge, going to be a tough one… against one of the best teams in the world and given the history between the two teams."


South Africa defeats Japan

South Africa cruised to a comfortable 41-7 victory over Japan on Friday in their final World Cup warm-up match, thanks to a hat-trick of tries from Makazole Mapimpi.

Winger Cheslin Kolbe opened the scoring with a neat finish on seven minutes before Mapimpi ran in two easy tries from the other flank as the Springboks built a 22-0 lead at halftime in Kumagaya.

Further tries from Mapimpi and Kolbe either side of Kotaro Matsushima's consolation and a flourish final from Herschel Jantjies secured victory for South Africa and helped Japan's famous memory win the 2015 World Cup.

With this victory, South Africa put down a tournament mark and won revenge for defeat four years ago, while Japan must look to improve on their World Cup opener against Russia on Sept. 20.

Africa's representatives

South Africa and Namibia, which will represent the African continent at this month's Rugby World Cup, are finalizing preparations that they hope will be sufficient to secure glory.

Both teams are in Pool B, along with defending champions New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Hosts Japan to open World Cup against Russia on Sept. 20 in Tokyo before South Africa face old rivals New Zealand in Yokohama. Namibia play their first match against Italy on Sunday 22.

South Africa is raring to go

South Africa, who have won the World Cup twice, are set to play their final warm-up match against the hosts, Japan.

The Springboks will face Japan as one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with their 34-32 victory over them at the 2015 World Cup in England.

“You can definitely see this is a much different team, much more fit, much stronger. Their systems are working and they know exactly what they are about, they know their strengths and weaknesses, '' said Siya Kolisi, South Africa's captain ahead of the match.

Namibia seeks maiden victory

Namibia will be seeking their first ever World Cup victory, 20 years after they debuted at the prestigious tournament.

They are banking on the experience of their Welsh coaches to end a 19-match losing streak.

Former Wales forward Phil Davies has been in charge of a team known as the Welwitschias, a sturdy desert plant, just before the last World Cup in 2015.

Davies works with compatriots Mark Jones (backs) and Dale McIntosh (forwards) as assistant coaches, while another Welshman, Wayne Proctor, is responsible for strength and conditioning.

"This is not a case of jobs for the 'boyos'," Davies stressed. "They are used to working with full-time and part-time professionals and that is what we have in the Namibian squad."

Scrum-half Eugene Jantjies is set to play in a fourth consecutive World Cup and says Welwitschias' goal is to continue to find a winning formula.

"This is the best squad we have had for many years and after coming so close to winning four years ago, I believe we can create history in Japan," he said.

READ MORE: South Africa names squad for 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

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