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Rugby World Cup

Springboks End Japanese Dream in Quarter-Finals

South Africa will face Wales in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals following a win over hosts Japan

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(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

South Africa have reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in Japan with a 26-3 victory over the hosts this afternoon. 

A brace of tries from Makazole Mapimpi as well as a five-pointer from Faf de Klerk saw the Springboks over the line against a determined Japanese side that began to tire as the game went on. 

The Springboks made the perfect start as winger Mapimpi took the ball from de Klerk off a scrum and went in for a try in the corner despite being under pressure from Yu Tamura. They couldn’t add the extras but it was 5-0 inside the fourth minute. 

However, as the clock edged toward the tenth minute the Boks were reduced to 14-men as Tendai Mtawarira was sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle, putting a sour note on his 100th appearance. 

Just before Mtawarira returned to the pitch Tamura cut the deficit as he knocked over a penalty to make it 5-3 with a quarter of the game gone. 

Japan continued to show the incredible handling work that has impressed many throughout the tournament to date and continued to put the Springboks under pressure as they seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on. 

Their dominance was showing in the statistics as they had an amazing 81% possession by come the half hour mark. However, despite having the majority of the ball for the remainder of the half they couldn’t add to the scoreboard as they went in at 5-3 to the Springboks come the half-time whistle.

South Africa began the second-half well and registered their first points of the half four minutes in through the boot of Handre Pollard, who sent over a brilliant long-range penalty to make it 8-3. 

Pollard pushed the Boks further in front four minutes later as he knocked over another penalty. 

Over the next 15 minutes South Africa camped in the opposition half and won a couple of penalties with Pollard sending one wide but smacking the second through the posts to give his side a 14-3 lead. 

With just under 15 minutes remaining the Springboks produced a powerful maul, marching almost 30 metres, into the Japanese 22 before replacement hooker Malcolm Marx broke away before passing to de Klerk who dived over for the try. Pollard kicked the simple conversion push them 21-3 in front. 

Four minutes on and they were in for try number three as Pollard broke through the Japanese defence before passing to Willie le Roux, who in turn sent it to Mapimpi, who raced into the left corner to dive over for the five-points. Pollard couldn’t add the extra two but it was 26-3 as Japan began to tire. 

The two teams traded blows over the last ten minutes as the both went in search of tries but neither could find a way through as it ended 26-3 in the Boks favour.

The Springboks will now prepare for a meeting with Wales next Sunday in the final four of the competition as they look to make it to another World Cup final. While for Japan their tournament comes to an end, but they have earned many admirers throughout with their incredible determination and playing style.

South Africa Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Willie le Roux (6), Cheslin Kolbe (7), Lukanyo Am (7), Damian de Allende (6), Makazole Mapimpi (8), Handre Pollard (8), Faf de Klerk (9), Duane Vermeulen (7), Pieter-Steph du Toit (7), Siya Kolisi (6), Lood de Jager (7), Eben Etzebeth (7), Frans Malherbe (6), Bongi Mbonambi (6), Tendai Mtawarira (5)

Replacements (7)

Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.

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World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video

While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.

The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.  

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions. 

World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.  

Statement Ends.

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Rugby World Cup

RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.

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Confirmed.

How the draw worked

As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.


Draw seedings

Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.

The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.

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Rugby World Cup

Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023

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Image from World Rugby
  • Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
  • 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
  • RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France


World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2 
  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
  • Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
    The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
  • Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
  • Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner


Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

Official Press Release from World Rugby

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