Springbok power ends Japanese fairytale

Faf de Klerk crosses the line in South Africa's win over Japan in the World Cup quarterfinals....
Faf de Klerk crosses the line in South Africa's win over Japan in the World Cup quarterfinals. Photo: Reuters
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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