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'They played out of their skins' - Schalk Burger has nothing but praise for Japan
“We are going to have to watch the highlight reels of that for years and years to come.”

SOUTH AFRICA’S SCHALK Burger has said they have “a tough week ahead” as they look to bounce back from their shock defeat to Japan on Saturday.

The Springboks suffered one of the tournament’s greatest ever giantkillings in the 34-32 defeat, with the two time champions now in a fight to claim top spot in Pool B.

Speaking on Sunday, South Africa’s number 8 on Saturday Schalk Burger took nothing away from the efforts of the minnows, saying they were thoroughly deserving of their victory.

“Let’s take a step back and give credit to the Japanese team. They have prepared for this game for six months and they played out of their skins,” he said.

“Japan got it right and all credit to them. We never put them under enough pressure to get them out of their comfort zone.

“We were on the receiving end and we are going to have to watch the highlight reels of that for years and years to come.”

While South Africa were red-hot favourites to top Pool B, the defeat now makes the upcoming game against Samoa on Saturday, and the later game against Scotland quite intriguing, with even more pressure on Heyneke Meyer’s side.

Burger says the importance of beating the Samoans on Saturday is not lost on them.

“Obviously our plans have changed now for this World Cup. Tomorrow we focus on how we go forward. Six days from now we go into a game against Samoa which is potentially our final of the World Cup.”

“Today we are getting over what went on yesterday. We will not dwell on it for too long. We have to get in a good frame of mind. We have to put in the hard yards. It’s not time to go back into our shells.

“We have to take this competition by the scruff of the neck. We have a tough week ahead,” he added.

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While the result has been seen as a huge positive around the rugby community, naturally it hasn’t gone down well in South Africa.

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Burger said that he and the team are trying not to focus on the headlines back home, and will use the experience as motivation.

While on a smaller scale to the Saturday’s seismic result, in 2011 France suffered a shock defeat to Tonga, before recovering to reach the final.

“I think everyone has a different opinion. I try to remain oblivious to it.

“But I know there have been some photos going around. There was one good one which had the Japanese captain Michael Leitch saying ‘last week I ate sushi and this week I ate Springbok’.”

“We’ll probably use that as a bit of motivation.”

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