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
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)
Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings
Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year
The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth.
It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023.
World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one.
A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan.
Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th.
Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw.
World Rugby Confirm Timing of 2023 RWC Draw
World Rugby have confirmed when they will be hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw and it has put pressure on teams to get positive results this year
World Rugby has announced that it will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.
The tournament will take place in France with the draw being held in Paris following the November internationals.
That means that teams only have between now and then to better their current rankings and move into a different drawing band, whereas for the previous draw they had 18 months to improve.
Speaking on the announcement World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont is excited to discover the fate of the teams and has put the pressure on teams to do well this year.
“The pool draw is an important milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France as it really drives excitement and momentum both in the host nation and throughout the global rugby family – it is the moment teams and fans can start to plan. With the World Rugby rankings determining the bands for the RWC 2023 pool draw, it promises to be a fascinating year of men’s international rugby with every match counting towards seeding at the end of the November Test series,” he said.
Twelve of the 20 participating teams from last year’s World Cup in Japan have automatically qualified, with the other eight to be decided in the qualifiers that will begin later this year.
However, the twelve teams that are already involved will have to be at their best to move up a band in the current rankings or fear dropping down in which case they could get a harder draw.
As of this moment the first band contains the World Cup semi-finalists from last year in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Wales, with the remaining quarter-finalists making up band two in Ireland, Australia, Japan and France.
It will be a tough task for teams to improve their current standings with the Six Nations teams only having one edition of the tournament to improve compared to the two editions they had last time around, but it does add some extra competition to this year’s fixtures.
Fans Player of the Decade Confirmed
World Rugby have announced the winner of their Fans Player of the Decade vote and there’s no surprise who’s won
Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has been named World Rugby’s Fans Player of the Decade following their polls over the past couple of weeks.
The organisation narrowed the competition down to 16 players, as they split them into a last-16 style format, with backs on one side and forwards on the other. With two players going head-to-head in the polls to make it through to each respective round.
Last week it was brought down to the final four, with all of them being New Zealand internationals as Carter was pitted up against Beauden Barrett, with Richie McCaw facing Kieran Read.
McCaw and Carter were victorious and now Carter has come out as the overall winner as the best player over the past 10-years.
It is not hard to see why fans have gone for the 112-cap All Black, who finished up his international career in 2015, having guided his country to historic back-to-back Rugby World Cup crowns.
As well as that he holds the title for the most points scored at test-level rugby with an incredible 1598 to his name.
On the international stage he was impressive, but he has been equally so at club-level, winning domestic crowns in both France with Racing 92 and in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers.
The 37-year-old is still under contract with the Japanese outfit, but has been unable to play for them for the majority of the year, having suffered a major injury, which also prevented him from a brief return to Racing 92 for the latter-half of last season.
However, he is poised to return to the playing field shortly and will be hoping to guide his team to further success and will have the aid of another All Black great joining him in the form of Brodie Retallick, who is linking up with the side for the season during his year sabbatical.
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