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Tier 1 teams have 'responsibility' to thrash Tier 2 teams to help them 'improve'

Reporting from Japan: In the wake of South Africa’s 57-3 dismantling of neighbours Namibia, Springboks DoR Rassie Erasmus claims Tier 1 sides must play hard against Tier 2 sides to help them improve.

Hosts Japan shocked Ireland last night in Shizuoka in a Pool A showdown that has set the tournament alight.

Now Eramus says Tier 1 have a responsibility to play “hard” against lesser teams to help them improve in a similar manner to Japan.

“They (Namibia) really came for us physically very hard. We might not have had a really hard tactical challenge in this game but physically we were challenged.

“A lot of people will point fingers and say it wasn’t a great performance but at least it was a physical challenge. Some guys got some match fitness and we got some log points out of this and now we’re a little bit better prepared for the Italy match.”

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“A few years ago Namibia got 100 points in the World Cup; Japan took a 100 points when the World Cup was held in South Africa in 1995 so there’s a definite improvement,” he said.

“Japan beat us and now they’ve beaten a team like Ireland so there’s a responsibility on us to play these games as hard as we can to make teams like Namibia see where they are and where they must improve.”

Japan’s victory over Ireland raised the potential for a Springboks versus Japan quarter-final.

“I said when we played [Japan] that the score [41-7] wasn’t a true reflection of the game and if you listen to the recording I said that if we manage to get through to the quarterfinals I was pretty sure that we might play Japan.

“I always thought Japan was a realistic contender for getting through to the quarterfinals and if they beat Scotland now they can end top of the pool, and if we manage to beat Italy then it is a realistic option that we’d be paying Japan – or a scary option!”

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“We said two or three weeks ago that there might be a few upsets in the pool games but when we get to the playoffs I think the best teams probably will win because that humidity factor won’t play such a big role,” he said.

The Springboks DoR also congratulated Japan on their hosting of the tournament.

“Japan can be proud of the way you have hosted the World Cup. I think you can be proud of the way your stadiums look; the facilities; the way you have supported us at training sessions and at the matches. But you can also be really proud of your team. “

“It’s difficult to explain to people how tough it is to handle the ball in these conditions. It’s always easy in the first 15, 20 minutes – the ball is going to stick – but after that it is almost impossible to handle.

“The guys change their jerseys at halftime but within five minutes everything is soaking wet again. And it’s not just passing that’s difficult; it’s even in the maul where you’re trying to transfer the ball back.”

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Tier 1 teams have 'responsibility' to thrash Tier 2 teams to help them 'improve'