TOKYO – Japan coach Jamie Joseph refers to wings Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima as ‘Ferraris’ but South Africa plan to unleash their own speed demons against the hosts in Sunday’s quarterfinal.
"We’ve definitely got a few Ferraris out there as well," said Springboks fullback Willie Le Roux. "I don’t think I’m one of them – I’m more of a bakkie person – a Toyota bakkie."
Le Roux’s comparison of himself to the bakkie, or pick-up truck, elicited chuckles from the press.
In reality, the 30-year-old is no slouch on attack. And he hopes to tee up wings Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi, above, to cause chaos.
"The guys who will play this weekend are fast, and if I get an opportunity to play as well, I will do my best to put them away and put them in space," said Le Roux.
Mapimpi has scored three tries in as many games at the World Cup, while Kolbe has two touchdowns in two matches, and has set the tournament alight with his breathtaking runs with ball in hand.
But Le Roux warned his team-mates they will be tested by Japan’s variety in attack, with their chip-kicks and grubber-kicks often difficult to deal with.
"For the back-three, it is going to be very hard work," said the No.15, who has 58 caps to his name. "They put all those kicks in, and have specific guys chasing. They are very fast out wide, chasing those balls.
"The guys playing in the back three will have to be awake and be alive to those kicks."
South Africa will be greeted by a partisan crowd inside Tokyo Stadium, desperate to see the Brave Blossoms repeat their heroic victory over the Boks at the 2015 World
Cup.African News Agency (ANA)