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Oct 20, 2019 at 11.15am UK
South Africa
Mapimpi (4', 70'), de Klerk (66')

Yutaka Nagare backs Japan to pull off another upset against South Africa

The Brave Blossoms will be banking on a high-tempo game plan in the Tokyo quarter-final.

Yutaka Nagare says Japan can expect face a hand-to-hand battle with South Africa on Sunday but believes the speed and energy of the Brave Blossoms might just be enough to overcome the Springboks' brute power.

Rassie Erasmus has made clear his intention to test the hosts physicality levels during their World Cup quarter-final clash in Tokyo by naming six forwards on his bench.

Japan scrum-half Nagare knows his team do not match up to their opponents when it comes to the scales.  But he insists the high-tempo game plan that has already left both Ireland and Scotland in a daze can have the same effect on the Boks.

He said: "I think I'll definitely lose if I go head-on (with the South Africans). I have to use my technique given I'm small.

"The try (Finn) Russell scored in the Scotland game started off with my mistake so I really felt responsible, and I feel they'll look to attack me in the next game, as well as near the try-line.

"But I've decided to go in determined to play with pride for this team. I'll keep my mind strong. I'll take them on carrying both mind and technique.

"I want to play smart. They'll come at us head-on. We know, as you can see from their line-up, they'll look to make it a forward battle, play a physical game.

"We need to fight properly there of course but it's important to play the ball smartly and make it a quick battle.

Japan v Ireland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Shizoka Stadium Ecopa
Japan's Yutaka Nagare celebrates victory over Ireland (Adam Davy/PA Images).

"I'll keep myself calm and communicate and energise the forwards. It will be real hand-to-hand combat and tough, but I'll keep giving energy to them and the team.

"I'll look to connect players through my communication and keep executing the gameplan the coaches showed me."

South Africa are in no doubt about the dangers Japan pose to their World Cup hopes having suffered one of the biggest shocks the game has ever seen with their defeat at the 2015 tournament.

The Boks recovered to squeeze into the knock-out rounds but could not raise their game again to beat the All Blacks in the semi-finals.

Handre Pollard insists Japan's shock win over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup will have no bearing on their quarter-final clash in Japan.
Handre Pollard insists Japan's shock win over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup will have no bearing on their quarter-final clash in Japan (Gareth Fuller/PA Images).

But fly-half Handre Pollard insists the experiences of four years ago will have no bearing on their current mission.

He said: "Four years ago was a complete different story. Different South African side, different World Cup, different place. So a lot has happened in the meantime.

"The guys who were part of that 2015 side certainly learnt from the mistakes we made, and hopefully we can improve on that in this play-off series.

"But it's not a big focus. We want to play our best rugby on Sunday and win, by one point or whatever – we've just got to win."

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Japan coach Jamie Joseph pictured on September 19, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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