The South African Rugby Union (Saru) on Monday announced that they will add a World Cup warm-up fixture against hosts Japan, who beat the Boks 34-32 in a historic clash last time around, to their existing schedule for next year.
It is a smart ploy by Saru to make sure the national team don’t have the same World Cup jitters as they did when they faced Japan in their tournament opener in 2015.
The match is scheduled to take place two weeks before South Africa kick off their campaign against New Zealand and will be played on September 6 in Tokyo.
Of the match, coach Rassie Erasmus says: “This is an ideal opportunity for the Boks to get match-ready for the Rugby World Cup. Our initial plans were to only arrive in Japan for a pre-tournament holding camp on 7 September.
"But thanks to the JRFU (Japan Rugby Football Union) we will now be leaving a week earlier, giving us almost three weeks in Japan before the start of the tournament.
“Apart from the much-needed game time on the field, this additional time in Japan, to get used to the weather and other conditions. Playing this game against the Brave Blossoms will be a wonderful way to get ready for the Rugby World Cup and we are truly grateful for the opportunity.”
In an interview with Kyodo News, captain Siya Kolisi, who was part of the squad that lost in Brighton, adds of the rematch: “It was a tough day for us as a team and it still hurts even now.
“But you have to give credit to Japan, they played really well. I was sitting on the bench and I could see they really wanted the win and they were smart.”
He adds: “We’re a new team and a lot of the guys that played in that game aren’t around anymore.
“It’s going to be a different game, but obviously we’re excited.”