Japan Fall to South Africa
KUMAGAYA, Japan (Sept. 6) – Japan will head into Rugby World Cup 2019 on a losing note after falling 41-7 to South Africa on Friday night.
Played in front of a sold out crowd at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, the Brave Blossoms matched the Springboks up front but were unable to make the most of the ball that came their way.
Makazole Mapimpi scored three tries and fellow wing Cheslin Kolbe two as South Africa used their kicking game to full effect, forcing the home side into mistakes and capitalizing on them to full effect.
Kolbe opened the scoring in the eighth minute and touched down twice with Handre Pollard kicking two conversions and a penalty goal as the Springboks led 22-0 at the break.
The second half was, for the most part, a much more even affair as the home side raised the tempo of their attacking game, only for the South Africans to do the same with their defensive effort.
Mapimpi completed his hat trick in the 53rd minute before Kotaro Matsushima raced away from the halfway line following a turnover and improvised pass from Timothy Lafaele to ensure Japan’s efforts received some reward.
However, it was the visitors who finished stronger, despite having a man in the sin bin, allowing Kolbe to add a second try before Herschel Jantjies completed the scoring in the final minute.
Japan open their Rugby World Cup Pool A campaign on Sept. 20 in Tokyo against Russia, while South Africa are in action the next day in Yokohama against New Zealand in Pool B.