Rugby World Cup 2019: South Africa ends Japan's dream run with 26-3 thumping

Makazole Mapimpi touched down twice as South Africa ended Japan's incredible Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign in the quarter-finals with a 26-3 rout on Sunday.

Japan's Kazuki Himeno reacts after the quarterfinal defeat against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup 2019.   -  Getty Images

South Africa gained vengeance for its shock loss to Japan in 2015 by comfortably defeating the Brave Blossoms 26-3 in an enthralling Rugby World Cup 2019 quarterfinal in Tokyo.

Japan pulled off a stunning 34-32 triumph over the Springboks in the previous tournament but was unable to repeat the trick in its first appearance in the last eight as its dream run on home soil ended.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi said in the build-up that a 41-7 victory over Jamie Joseph's side in September provided a measure of revenge, though it secured the ultimate tonic to book a semifinal against Wales.

Makazole Mapimpi scored a hat-trick in the warm-up meeting and this time touched down either side of Faf de Klerk's try as Japan was punished for failing to make the most of an impressive first-half display.

 

After the high of reaching the quarterfinals, Japan was brought down to earth inside four minutes when De Klerk fed Mapimpi off the scrum and the wing breezed through the challenge of Yu Tamura to race in at the left corner.

The Springboks had Tendai Mtawarira sent to the sin bin on his 100th Test start for a tip tackle on Keita Inagaki, yet a penalty won against the feed at the scrum that Tamura slotted between the posts was all Japan had to show for its numerical advantage.

Japan continued to dominate the possession and territory when South Africa was restored to its full complement, though it was unable to capitalise and move ahead before the break.

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Handre Pollard atoned for failing to convert Mapimpi's try by splitting the posts with a trio of penalties within 16 minutes of the restart, helping the Springboks edge clear.

Rassie Erasmus' men were far more disciplined in the second half and moved well out of sight when De Klerk crossed following an unstoppable rolling maul.

Mapimpi put the result beyond all doubt with 10 minutes remaining when he fended off Kotaro Matsushima for a second try to keep the Rugby Championship winner in the hunt for another trophy.

Japan's journey ends

Victories over Ireland and Scotland - the latter in an incredibly emotional shoot-out for progression in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis - provided the host with unforgettable moments it will hope help continue the development of rugby union in Japan. While the host was unable to replicate the miracle of Brighton from four years ago, it can be incredibly proud of its displays in 2019.

All-action De Klerk

Sale Sharks scrum-half De Klerk dictated the play and provided a calming presence for South Africa in a difficult first period littered with handling errors. He made some important tackles to keep the Brave Blossoms at bay and was rewarded with a deserved try in the 66th minute.