Springboks coach Erasmus can’t take eyes off ‘scary’ Japan

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              Japan's players celebrate after winning over Ireland during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa between Japan and Ireland in Shizuoka, Japan, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus arrived later than he normally does for his team’s pre-game warmup in Toyota. Turns out he couldn’t take his eyes off another Rugby World Cup game.

Somewhere in the backrooms at the City of Toyota Stadium, Erasmus was instead glued to the TV for the Japan-Ireland epic in Shizuoka, which ended less than an hour before his team’s game against Namibia.

“I watched that game right to the end,” Erasmus said.

And apart from the great drama of Japan’s 19-12 upset victory over Ireland, which shook up the World Cup, it might also have been time well invested by Erasmus.

Should Japan keep its stunning run going in Pool A, and South Africa clinches second in Pool B, it’ll be Japan vs. the Springboks in the quarterfinals.

And that’ll put South Africa in Japan’s sights once again. The Boks have been there before, beaten in the last seconds by Japan at Rugby World Cup 2015 for the biggest shock in the tournament’s history before Saturday in Shizuoka.

Erasmus said a quarterfinal against the host nation is now “a realistic option” if South Africa can get past Italy, the biggest challenge it has left in the pool stage.

“It’s also a bit of a scary option,” Erasmus said.