Springboks vs Japan: Key battles

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A cracking clash of captains headlines the key head-to-head battles of Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final showdown between the Springboks and hosts Japan in Tokyo, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

With a nation behind them, over 70,000 of whom will fill Tokyo Stadium, the Brave Blossoms are primed to produce another inspired performance. They’ve played out of their skins so far to defy the odds and break new ground, winning all four of their pool games – including historic victories over Tier 1 nations Ireland and Scotland – to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time ever.

Last week, Michael Leitch and his team gained a far greater purpose than making Japanese rugby history. They became beacons of hope to the over 70 families who lost loved ones and the countless who’ve been displaced by the devastating Typhoon Hagibis. The raw emotion elevated each player to produce a special performance against the Scots last Sunday and the Springboks should brace for the best, most impassioned version of the Brave Blossoms yet.

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