The Japanese national rugby team has been eliminated in the quarter-finals of the home World Cup. The "Cherry Blossoms" were defeated by the favored South Africans 3:26 (3: 5). It kept Japan, which was the first time in a World Cup quarter-final, the game long open.
Only in the second half of the South African "Springboks" decided the game. They still have the chance to win the title for the first time since 2007. In the tournaments in 2011 and 2015 South Africa failed before the final on New Zealand. This year, both teams can only meet in the final.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP
Japan's Asaeli Ai Valu (left) and Atsushi Sakate are disappointed about leaving
In Tokyo Japan had almost 70 percent possession in the first half as an outsider. Nevertheless, the team led by captain Michael Leitch failed to push through to the South African Malfeld. South Africa's defensive could not be overcome.
After an early attempt by South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi (4th minute), Japan made it through a penalty kick from Yu Tamura in the first half (20). However, it should remain the only points for the Japanese team. The outstanding playmaker Faf de Klerk (66th) and again Mapimpi (70th) decided the game with their attempts.
At the 2015 World Cup Japan had won in the preliminary round against the Springboks. And at this World Cup, the team figured something out, in the group stage, the Japanese were without a point loss and beat, among other things, Ireland. How transformed structures in Japanese rugby have made this success possible, read here.
South Africa is the fourth and final semi-finalist. In the round of the last four teams, the Springboks face Wales, which previously beat France. The second semi-final will be played by England and New Zealand. All dates, results and information about the Rugby World Cup in Japan can be read here.