South Africa stamp out Japan's World Cup fairy-tale with quarter-final win

South Africa have advanced to the semifinals with a grinding 26-3 win over Japan, bringing an end to the hosts' 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.

First-five 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 Springboks are now 5-2 in Rugby World Cup semi-finals and will meet Wales next weekend for a place in the final.

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The Springboks march into the final four, defeating their hosts in Tokyo. Source: Spark Sport RWC