Cape Town - Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has warned against underestimating Japan in Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Tokyo.
The Boks take on the tournament hosts in one of the most highly-anticipated matches of the first round of knockouts in what will be a repeat of the famous 2015 pool stage fixture where Japan stunned the South Africans in Brighton.
Since then, Japan have gone from strength to strength and their victories over both Ireland and Scotland in the group stages secured them top spot in Pool A in 2019 and a first ever quarter-final at the tournament.
The Boks will still enter the match as overwhelming favourites, but Stick has seen enough to know that nothing is guaranteed.
Under the leadership of head coach Jamie Joseph and assistant coach Tony Brown, the Brave Blossoms have distinct Kiwi flavour while Stick also sees a South American flare in their game style.
"They have some New Zealand coaches in their system and we know the New Zealand philosophy about the game, and putting the ball through the hands," Stick told media on Tuesday.
"So, we can expect something close to how the All Blacks are playing. But when I'm watching them, they remind me of Argentina.
"That is one side where if they have time, they can be dangerous.
"We must make sure we are at our best with our defensive systems, because they are very skilful and have quick players.
"Jamie Joseph compared their two wings to Ferrari cars, so we have to not allow those Ferraris to go to fifth gear or sixth gear."
Stick added that the Boks would have to be on their toes throughout the contest.
"We must make sure we don’t underestimate anything," he said.
"They are a proper side at the moment. We don't talk about a Tier 2 side anymore, because they are ranked seventh. Whatever surprises they throw at us on the day, we must make sure we can handle those."
Kick-off is at 12:15 (SA time).
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard