South African power ends Japan’s fairytale run

South Africa's scrum-half Faf de Klerk (2R) celebrates after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Japan and South Africa at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on October 20, 2019.
South Africa's scrum-half Faf de Klerk (2R) celebrates after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Japan and South Africa at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on October 20, 2019.
Image: Behrouz MEHRI / AFP

A powerful South Africa ended the hopes of millions of Japanese rugby fans when they ground down the host nation 26-3 in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Tokyo Stadium on Sunday.

Japan had set their home tournament alight with a scintillating style of organised chaos that swept them through their pool unbeaten with victories against tier one nations Ireland and Scotland.

Their fairytale run, however, ended against a formidable Springboks defensive effort that slowed the Japanese speed, while the South Africans, who only led 5-3 at halftime, relied on halfback pairing Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard to keep them pinned in their own half.

The Springboks, who scored three tries — two from winger Makazole Mapimpi — but wasted a string of other chances, will now face Wales in the semi-finals in Yokohama next week after they recorded a 20-19 victory over a 14-man France, who had lock Sebastian Vahaamahina sent off at Oita Stadium earlier on Sunday.

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