Galileo Ferrari for JAPAN Forward

TOKYO — The final game of the Rugby World Cup quarter finals took place at Tokyo Stadium between 4th-world-ranking South Africa and the home team and 6th-ranking Japan on Sunday night, October 20.

The Springboks’ flawless defense proved too powerful for the Brave Blossoms, and South Africa move on to the semi-finals with an undeniable 26-3 win over Japan.

Out of the eight quarter-finalists, Japan fielded the least experienced starting XV, and played in the quarter finals for the first time. South Africa has two championships and finished third in the previous 2015 world cup.

First Half

It was drama for Japan as they tried to push too hard in the early minutes. Fresh legs for the Springboks’ scrum feed powered through, and it looked too easy from there. Makazole Mapimpi caught a pass from Faf de Klerk from a scrum and shrugged an attempted tackle by Yu Tamura to go over in the corner. Handre Pollard’s goal conversion missed, but a 5-0 start early to South Africa is not what Japan wanted.

In the 19th, dangerous spear tackle by South African Prop Tendai Mtawarira put him in the bin, and the Brave Blossoms continued to battled back with their “One Team” style of play, winning a scrum penalty, and instantly igniting the Tokyo stadium fans. 2019 Rugby World Cup leading point scorer and Japanese fly-half Yu Tamura added 3 more points to his tally to close the gap. South Africa was still up 5-3.

Japan was on offense for most of the half, with almost 70% possession, and 82 carries against South Africa’s 30. The Springboks displayed impenetrable defense, diffused Japan’s continuous attacks, and countered when they had an opportunity.

South Africa’s unforced errors, dropped simple catches, and a double movement in front of the try line kept the game competitive, and Japan’s hopes up going into halftime.


By - Ben K.