Japan’s exhilarating Rugby World Cup run came to an end with a 26-3 defeat by South Africa in Tokyo.
The host nation took the tournament by storm after winning all its group stage games but was overpowered by a physical South African side in Sunday’s quarterfinal clash.
The victory means the Springboks will next face Wales, which beat France 20-19 earlier in the day, with New Zealand and England contesting the tournament’s other semifinal.
“We got two runaway tries, I think this was more of a five or six-point game,” said South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus. “The margin we got at the end wasn’t a true reflection.
“We want to try and go all the way. Now we’ve got Wales. They are ranked higher than us … we’ll start tomorrow on them.”
A fourth-minute try from Makazole Mapimpi gave the Springboks an early lead after the winger shrugged off Yu Tamura’s tackle to run in from 25 meters.
Japan came back strongly, however, and began to move the ball with trademark speed and skill that has worked so effectively in the tournament so far.
A try proved elusive, but Tamura did cut the deficit to two points with a penalty midway through the first half, nine minutes after Tendai Mtawarira was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Damian De Allende was denied a score on the stroke of half time when he was deemed to have got back to his feet having been tackled, meaning the scores remained 5-3 at the break — the lowest-scoring first 40 of the World Cup so far.
From then on, South Africa began to take control of proceedings.
Three penalties from Handre Pollard saw the Springboks extend their lead as their big forward pack began to assert physical supremacy. Japan, on the other hand, continued to try and play with flair and ambition but was hampered by misfiring lineouts and under-powered scrums.
Faf de Klerk got his first and South Africa’s second try after a rolling maul had surged deep into the Japanese half.
The game was all but out of sight for the home side, Mapimpi grabbed another late on when he finished off a break from Pollard and Willie Le Roux.
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Source – CNN