South Africa: Pollard - We Have to Win ... Even If It's By 1 Point!

Cape Town — Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard says he will take a one-point win in Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan in Tokyo.

The Boks go into the match (12:15, SA time) as overwhelming favourites, but hosts Japan have become the darling team of the tournament and they will have a packed crowd and the entire country cheering them on when they take to the field at Tokyo Stadium.

Sunday's match is even more significant given what happened at the 2015 World Cup when Japan stunned the Boks in their opening pool match to secure one of the greatest upsets the sport has ever seen.

"Four years ago was a complete different story," Pollard told media in Tokyo on Friday.

"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."

Pollard was also asked if he would be resorting to drop goals more now that the tournament had reached the knockout stages.

"I'm not going to give away any secrets here," he joked.

"But it's play-off rugby. We all know the history of penalties in World Cups, so it's no secret - it's very important and could play a massive role in this match.

"It's something we are always ready to do, if it is time to do it.

"I'm not going to force anything. If the opportunity presents itself, I will do that. Any points - whether it's three, five or seven, it's very valuable points."

Teams:

Japan

15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki

Substitutes: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Lomano Lava Lemeki

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

Source: Sport24

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