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Going into the Summers Rugby Championship, the South African Springboks were considered favourites for that tournament, and amongst the most likely teams to take the World Title in England.
However, a disastrous Championship saw them lose all three fixtures, including two on home soil. They may be grateful that they appear to have a relatively comfortable qualifying Pool, from which they should emerge unscathed and take their place in the last eight. They begin their quest for a third world title in Pool B on Saturday in Brighton, when Japan are the opposition. The first time that the two countries will have met in a full international.
The Japanese Cherry Blossoms also enter the tournament with little form behind them. A win in their Pacific Nations Cup opener over Canada, was followed by defeats to the USA, Fiji and Tonga. They have managed to record two wins in warm up matches against Uruguay and Georgia. However, in a group that also includes Samoa and Scotland, it appears likely that Japan will have to target the USA fixture as their most likely chance of tasting success. The South Africa have made their intentions clear, with the selection of a side that has more than 800 caps to its credit, the most experience XV that the Boks have fielded in their history.
Tags: Rugby Championship
, South Africa