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Japan vs South Africa, Rugby World Cup 2019: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?

Telegraph Sport
Japan will have the support of a whole nation when they take on South Africa - AP

What is it?

Japan against South Africa in the fourth and final quarter-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

When is the match?

Sunday, October 20 - ie today.

What time is kick-off?

11.15am (BST) at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

What TV channel is it on?

ITV from 10.45am BST. It follows straight on from the earlier quarter-final on Sunday, Wales vs France. You can also follow this game right here with Telegraph Sport.

Read the full TV schedule for the final fixtures.

What is the latest squad news?


Japan have made one injury-enforced change to their starting line-up, bringing Ryohei Yamanaka in at full-back in place of William Tupou.

Tupou suffered a concussion in Japan's win over Scotland at Yokohama last weekend and drops out of the matchday 23 altogether, with livewire winger Lomano Lava Lemeki named among the replacements as cover for the back three.

Coach Jamie Joseph also makes two changes to the forwards on the bench with Wimpie van der Walt and Amanaki Lelei Mafi replacing fellow big men Uwe Helu and Hendrik Tui for what is likely to be a physical battle against the Springboks.

Loosehead prop Jiwon Koo was forced off the pitch against the Scots by a rib injury but has recovered sufficiently to take his place in the front row.

South Africa

South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe has returned from an ankle injury. Kolbe scored twice against Italy but picked up an injury and was kept out of the Springboks' final Pool B match against Canada as a precaution to ensure he was ready for the quarters.

Coach Rassie Erasmus had rotated his squad through the pool stage to ensure his players all had game time before the knockout stage but has settled on the same matchday squad that played against Italy, with a 6-2 split between forwards and backs in the replacements.

Erasmus said the 6-2 split on the bench was not an indication they would try to simply dominate the smaller Japanese forwards and added that the selection of Bongi Mbonambi as the starting hooker with Malcom Marx coming off the bench was due to the pace that they expect Japan to play.

What are they saying?

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has revealed playing a World Cup warm-up fixture against Japan (won by the Boks 41-7 in Kumagaya) had been a deliberate ploy in order to dampen down any talk of the Brighton Miracle if they met during the tournament:

"In all honesty, the reason for that warm-up game was to erase the Brighton game, so that if we do play them in play-off games, that game hopefully doesn't get mentioned again.

"It's 1-1, and now we go into a quarter-final game against a really tough team. That (Brighton) game is in the past now.

"I must say that in that warm-up game, there was no pressure.

"We definitely won't be able to go with the same plan that we went into the warm-up game with (and) we will definitely have to come up with a totally new plan.

"It will probably be something where we will have to match their pace and speed, and try to keep up with the way they play the game."

Japan captain Michael Leitch has said the potential for his side to grow is "scary" and that while the World Cup knockout stage will be a step into the unknown, they have the mental strength to deal with the pressure:

"Looking back, even since 2011, this team has grown so much and it is scary to think about how far this team could actually grow.

"The last four games, we are getting better each time, and the confidence is growing. This is great for Japanese rugby, for rugby in Asia and for tier-two rugby.

"First we have qualified for the quarter-finals and now we are shuffling the goalposts (of what can be expected).

"The biggest reason is belief, that is the trigger. Since 2011, the opponents we have played have been stronger and stronger. We have played more tier-one nations and played in Super Rugby."

What are the betting odds?

  • Japan to win: 7/1
  • South Africa to win: 2/11
  • Draw: 50/1

Read the latest odds for the quarter-finals.

What is our prediction?

Japan outclassed Scotland in the most entertaining game of the competition so far to reach the last eight, but that's because the Scots play a similar, high-tempo game to the Japanese; it's just that the Brave Blossoms did it better.

South Africa, on the other hand, will look to use their superior size to bludgeon their hosts into submission and will not give Japan the same amount of space to play in that Scotland did.

Read our expert's predictions for the quarter-finals.

Prediction: Japan 17 South Africa 37