Yokohama – After a sleepless night replaying Japan’s historic Rugby World Cup victory over Scotland in his head, captain Michael Leitch has warned quarter-final opponents South Africa that lightning can strike twice.
The hosts won a cliffhanger 28-21 in Yokohama at the weekend to top Pool A and reach the knockout stage for the first time, exorcising the ghosts of 2015 when they toppled the Springboks and won two more games but failed to advance.
Japan’s talismanic skipper admitted Monday he was still a little dazed after such an emotional night.
Looking back, even since 2011, this team has grown so much – and it’s scary to think how far this team can grow,” added the marauding flanker.
The last four games, we’ve been getting better each time and our confidence is growing.”
Japan, once pulverised 145-17 by New Zealand at the World Cup (in Bloemfontein in 1995), defied odds of almost 50/1 to finish top of their pool ahead of runners-up Ireland and the Scottish, who fly home early.
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