Boks not thinking about 'dangerous Japan' just yet, says Mzwandile Stick
Almost as hurriedly destructive as the typhoons that afflict these parts‚ hosts Japan have become the team that has grabbed everybody’s attention at the Rugby World Cup.
Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has also taken note of the host team’s electrifying performances in Pool A‚ although he says he hasn’t spent time analysing them yet.
“So far our focus has been the games we play in the group stages‚” said Stick when asked about the high-intensity style that has helped Japan to three wins from three starts, including wins over Ireland and more recently Samoa.
“There are a number of things they do well. They play at a high tempo‚ they play with width‚ they gang tackle with gusto‚ while their dexterous handling of the greasy ball has been sublime.”
Though Japan are now top of their pool‚ there's no doubting the hosts' underdog status.
“It is good to see a country like Japan doing well as the host nation. You can feel the vibe around Japan. Everyone’s excited about the game. It is good to see the country united behind their team,” said Stick.
“They have shown that if you don’t pitch up on the day, you are going to get hurt‚ you are going to get punished. I’m happy to see Japan where they are now. They are a very dangerous side. They’ve got a good balance.”
Japan may not have commanded Stick's full attention just yet, but they certainly will if they end up topping their pool and the Springboks finish runners-up in theirs.
“We will only think about them once we get to that stage. We have a 10-day turnaround after our next game, so we have enough time to make sure that we get prepared for whoever we have to play in the quarterfinals,” he said.
First‚ SA need to get past Canada‚ who they face in a Pool B match on Tuesday.
Victory will cement their place in the quarterfinals‚ while defeat will be too ghastly to contemplate.