Cape Town - Former England scrumhalf Matt Dawson says Japan will give South Africa a run for their money in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals but won't get the better of them.

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The Brave Blossoms qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time after beating Scotland 28-21 in Yokohama over the weekend.

Japan, who earlier also defeated Ireland 19-12, finished top of Pool A and now face the Springboks, runners up in Pool B, in the last eight in Tokyo on Sunday.

Via a column for BBC Sport, Dawson gave his predictions for the quarter-finals and shared his general views on the tournament.

The 2003 World Cup winner said he was impressed with the pace the Japanese employed in their game.

"Japan will give South Africa a run for their money in the quarter-finals because they play a unique style. Not even the All Blacks play at some of the speed they do," Dawson wrote.

"The way they transition from short-side to wide is phenomenal. They get the ball out wide really quickly from lots of different situations and run on to the ball at pace."

Dawson noted how the Scots were blown off the park in the first 50 minutes, with Japan racing to a 28-7 lead before losing steam towards the end.

"Japan are creating their own unique style of rugby that is very difficult to play against, but it takes a monumental amount of fitness and that is probably why they looked a little bit tired in that last 15-20 minutes on Sunday," he added.

Japan famously upset the Springboks 34-32 at the 2015 World Cup in England but Dawson said he did not expect another upset.

"We remember when Japan shocked South Africa in the pool stage in 2015, but the Springboks were pretty poor and Japan capitalised on an average performance from their opposition.

"I don't think South Africa will lose this time because for Japan it is back-to-back massive Test matches after that game against Scotland. Well-rested and on good form, South Africa will probably be a little bit too strong."

Dawson, 46, played 77 Tests for the England between 1995 and 2006 and also played seven Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

He was the starting scrumhalf when England beat Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert