The Latest: No shock as Boks reach semis with win over Japan
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
South Africa has advanced to the semifinals with a grinding 26-3 win over Japan, bringing an end to the home team’s entertaining run at the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.
The week-long hype over a potential repeat of Japan’s upset over South Africa in 2015, the so-called Miracle of Brighton, was muscled out of reality by a big Springboks lineup that stuck to its attritional game plan.
With a half-time score at 5-3 it was still anybody’s game. The “epic moments” of Japan’s famous win four years ago were replayed on the stadium screen during the break but it seemed only to remind the South Africans of what was at stake in the second half.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard landed three penalty goals from the 44th to the 64th minutes to extend the margin to 14-3 before the game finally opened up.
Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk scooted over in the 66th after a powerful driving maul from the Springboks had Japan on the back foot, and Makazole Mapimpi added his second try of the match in the 70th to put the result beyond doubt.
Japan, which had won millions of converts to the sport for its high-intensity running rugby, was unable to cross South Africa’s line.
The South Africans are now 5-2 in Rugby World Cup semifinals and will meet Wales next weekend for a place in the final.