Even accounting for the vagaries of translation, there is something not quite right in calling a national rugby team the “Brave Blossoms”, which seems to set the bar of expectation just a tad low. I refer here, of course, to the Japanese side, who, let’s face it, sound more like a high school netball team than perhaps they should.

It was in keeping with this spirit of superiority that the Springboks saw to it that the Blossoms wilted 41-7 in a warm-up game in Kumagaya last Friday, thus preparing the way for a World Cup campaign that, SA fervently hopes, will finish in the final at Yokohama’s International Stadium on November 2...

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