“We were satisfied with the performance against Italy and want to build on that,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, of the team named on Thursday.
“We have been improving and building momentum this season and we will be looking for further improvements this weekend.
“Japan are a well-coached team and have deservedly climbed to seventh in the world rankings. It’ll be a good challenge but we’re definitely up for it.”
Erasmus was satisfied with the experience at his disposal for this crunch match.
“When we set out on this campaign at the start of last season, one of the things we said we wanted to do was broaden and deepen the experience in the squad,” said Erasmus.
“We’re now in a position where everyone in the starting XV has had a proper taste of top-level Test rugby and we’ve got a strong spine of Test experience for these high-pressure matches.
“You need that experience when it comes to handling the pressure situations we will face on Sunday and I think we’ve achieved that now.”
Erasmus again announced a six-two replacement split in favour of the forwards (rather than the traditional five-three), as was successfully deployed against the Azzurri.
“We will look at our replacement strategy on a game-by-game basis and for this opponent on this occasion we believe we’ll need fresh legs among the forwards at some point,” said Erasmus.
“We’re very fortunate in that we have a squad that has a number of highly versatile players among forwards and backs who can slot into a number of positions to cover all eventualities.”