South Africa captain Siya Kolisi revealed he was “excited but scared” after an earthquake in the Shizuoka region of Japan in the early hours of Wednesday morning.


Kolisi felt the tremors at the hotel where the South Africa team are staying before their crunch World Cup fixture against Italy at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in Fukuroi on Friday.

The flanker said: “I felt it. Cheslin (Kolbe) was sleeping and snoring, so I thought it was him!

“It was something different – I have never felt anything like that. I was excited but scared at the same time.”

The Springboks started their Pool B campaign by losing to defending champions New Zealand but bounced back to inflict a heavy defeat on Namibia last week.

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Kolisi insists South Africa have not been lacking for motivation since then, as another defeat would almost certainly end their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.


He added: “We’ve got a really important game, and every game from now is a play-off game because, if we slip up, we are out of the competition.

“Italy are a good side who have beaten us in the past. In a way, we are fortunate that we have to play a knockout game earlier than normal.

“It’s one of those games that you want to be playing in as a player. We’ve just prepared as best as we could and trained well and are really confident in our plan.


“It is quite clear that it is a play-off game and we all know that we need to win. It’s been a great week and each player knows what’s needed of them. The coach has spoken to us and we want to play in the play-offs.”

Italy have collected bonus-point wins against Namibia and Canada to sit top of the pool but they now face a side they have beaten only once in 14 previous matches.

Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi

South Africa comfortably prevailed 35-6 in their last meeting in November 2017, but hooker Luca Bigi is relishing the contest.

He said: “I know what they are like from two years ago at Padova. We must be competitive. We must be determined, with the right attitude because we’ve been thinking about this match for four years.”

Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi added: “It is like preparing for a university or school exam. You can’t prepare in two or three days. You must prepare for years.

“Going on the pitch feeling tense won’t be good for us. We’ll be concentrated, but not tense. We’ve all played rugby for many years and this is the type of match we’ve wanted to play, and we have to give it our all.”

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