A taxing travel schedule and warm Japanese summer conditions are some of the factors that will test the South Africans’ resolve, but also the hot streak in form displayed by the Sakura XV, who recently toppled Fiji and Australia.

For Springbok Women head coach Stanley Raubenheimer, those challenges were what attracted them to the tour in the first place.

“We are fully aware of those challenges and that was part of the thinking on undertaking the tour in the bigger planning towards the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand,” said Raubenheimer.

“The players will be exposed to the jet lag factor and how that impacts on your body as well as being out of their comfort zones, so it will be a real challenge. It is something the squad need at this stage of our preparation for New Zealand and we are embracing the opportunity.

“It will be a historic tour as well. We have never toured Japan, nor have we played against them, so it is a privilege to share some history with a proud nation like Japan. We are certainly aware of their capabilities on the field and how we will be tested, especially by their fast play at breakdowns.

“We have progressed nicely in the areas we wanted to improve on as a team. In the recent Rugby Africa Women's Cup, our attacking play was excellent and that was a good sign for us in measuring our progress.

Ready for the long trip to Japan.

Ready for the long trip to Japan.

“The challenge from Japan is something completely different though. We want to improve and test our defensive system and I think we have found the ideal opponents for that. Their style of play will evaluate our capabilities, no doubt,” the coach added.

For Springbok Women captain, Nolunsindiso Booi, the tour will also test their mental strength.

“I think we are in a good space when it comes to unity and camaraderie and operating as a unit,” said Booi.

“Those elements will all be under stress on this tour, and we need to respond in a positive manner when confronted by those pressures. That is where the leadership in the team will be important.”

Booi reckons the forwards will have to lay the foundation if they are to record a historic series win over the Japanese side: “We have certain strengths in our side and I think our forward pack has improved a lot.

“We have a young and exciting backline capable of scoring good tries, but for them to thrive and shine, the foundation must be created by the way we execute. We all believe in our processes and game plan and if executed well, we will have a good tour.

“Another huge thing for us of course will be the fact that we are representing our country. That remains a massive honour and we pride ourselves in that. We want to create a pathway for the next generation by inspiring them. That is an easy motivator as it drives all of us to do our best,” said Booi.