Cape Town - Hurricanes coach John Plumtree says Japan will face a massive test up front in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against the Springboks on Sunday.
The Brave Blossoms qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time after beating Scotland 28-21 in Yokohama on Sunday.
Japan, who earlier also defeated Ireland 19-12, finished top of Pool A and will face South Africa, runners up in Pool B, in the last eight in Tokyo.
Via a column for Y’ello Rugby, Plumtree - who was Japan's defence consultant in 2017 and 2018 - said the Boks would provide the hosts with a sterner Test than Scotland and Ireland.
"The Bok pack is the best at this tournament and if Japan aren’t able to handle it on Sunday, they will have a long night. The scrum is a massive weapon for the Boks. They have two excellent front rows and the best locks in the competition," Plumtree wrote.
"The Boks will put Japan under immense pressure - far more than they’ve experienced so far in the tournament. The positive for the Japanese is they’ve already experienced that pressure in a warm-up game against the Boks a month ago. They will know what’s coming, it’s just a question of whether their forwards can step up for 80 minutes."
The Springboks beat Japan 41-7 in a World Cup warm-up match in Kumagaya last month, while the Japanese won the previous encounter 34-32 in Brighton during the 2015 World Cup in England.
- Compiled by Herman Mostert