South Africa Strong Second Half Beats Japan

South Africa used a strong second half to beat Japan 26-3 at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo on Sunday, 20 October. South Africa led 5-3 at the break.

South Africa will face Wales next Sunday in the semifinals. Wales beat France 20-19 in an earlier quarterfinal. The other semifinal will have England facing New Zealand on Saturday.

Host nation Japan captivated the Rugby World Cup with their performance and they exit with heads held high after advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time.

Match Recap

The Springboks took a 5-0 lead in the 4th minute from a scrum on Japan’s 22-meters as Faf de Klerk offloaded to Makazole Mapimpi blind for a try in the left corner.

Six minutes later, loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira was sent to the bin for a tip tackle. Japan went through 12 phases moving the ball to within 5-meters of in-goal before Damian de Allende thwarted the attack winning a turnover at the breakdown.

Just prior to Mtawarira’s return, the Springboks had a scrum infraction and Yu Tamura slotted a penalty goal to cut the lead to 5-3.

South Africa had three other scoring opportunities, but an offsides penalty, a knock-on and a penalty for crawling forward by Damian de Allende stopped attacks.

Japan used the quick ball to keep 68% of possession and territory during the half. The Springboks looked to take advantage of their size and weight with driving mauls and quick defensive line speed. Japan countered with quick ball and with cross kicks and swung the ball back and forth to wear out the Boks.

Second Half

The Springboks extended the lead to 8-3 following a Handre Pollard penalty goal.

South Africa de Allende created a turnover inside Japan’s 22-meters, but an ensuing forward pass resulted in a potential try voided giving the Brave Blossoms a scrum. Japan was penalized in the scrum with Pollard slotting another penalty goal for an 11-3 lead.

South Africa created a scrum penalty, however, Pollard’s attempted penalty goal sailed wide left of the posts.

Handre Pollard punished a penalty by James Moore for a high tackle on de Klerk with another penalty goal to lead 14-3. In the last ten minutes, the Boks have had 76% of the possession.

The Springboks used a driving maul of almost 50 meters with Malcolm Marx offloading inside to Faf de Klerk for a try with Pollard slotting the extras to lead 21-3.

Following a penalty at the breakdown by South Africa, Japan kicked for territory and the Springboks stole a lineout 6 meters from in-goal. South Africa countered moving the ball to the left wide channel with Makazole Mapimpi finishing with a try in the left corner to likely seal the match at 26-3.

With the win, the Springboks will face Wales in the semifinals next Sunday. The other semifinal will have England facing New Zealand.

Player of the Match honors went to scrumhalf Faf de Klerk.

Squads & Match Preview

Japan: 1. Keita Inagaki 2. Shota Horie 3. Jiwon Koo 4. Luke Thompson 5. James Moore 6. Michael Leitch (capt.) 7. Pieter Labuschagne 8. Kazuki Himeno 9. Yutaka Nagare 10. Yu Tamura 11. Kenki Fukuoka 12. Ryoto Nakamura 13. Timothy Lafaele 14. Kotaro Matsushima 15. Ryohei Yamanaka 16. Atsushi Sakate 17. Isileli Nakajima 18. Asaeli Ai Valu 19. Wimpie van der Walt 20. Amanaki Lelei Mafi 21. Fumiaki Tanaka 22. Rikiya Matsuda 23. Lomano Lava Lemeki

South Africa: 1. Tendai Mtawarira 2. Bongi Mbonambi  3. Frans Malherbe 4. Eben Etzebeth 5. Lood de Jager 6. Siya Kolisi (capt) 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit  8. Duane Vermeulen  9. Faf de Klerk 10. Handré Pollard 11. Makazole Mapimpi 12. Damian de Allende 13. Lukhanyo Am 14. Cheslin Kolbe 15. Willie le Roux 16. Malcolm Marx  17. Steven Kitshoff 18. Vincent Koch 19. RG Snyman  20. Franco Mostert 21. Francois Louw  22. Herschel Jantjies  23. Frans Steyn

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England) Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England) TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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