Wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored five out of the six tries as the Springboks prepared for the Rugby World Cup with a comfortable 41-7 victory over
in Saitama on Friday.
Mapimpi grabbed a hat trick and Kolbe got a brace as Rassie Erasmus’ team rumbled their way past an outclassed Japanese outfit in what was sweet revenge for the shock 2015 World Cup defeat in
The South African forwards had too much firepower for the hosts, as they dominated the lineouts and had the advantage in the scrums to set the tone for the win.
The Boks took just eight minutes to get the scoreboard rolling, when Kolbe dotted down for the first of his two tries on the night following strong runs by Lukhanyo Am and Willie le Roux.
That came after a strong start by the visitors, with the likes of Eben Etzebeth putting the Japanese lineout under heavy pressure in the opening stages.
The home side tried to stretch the Bok defence out wide, but their handling let them down in the hot and humid conditions.
Siya Kolisi’s team were measured in their approach, obviously with an eye on the World Cup, as they didn’t want to reveal too much ahead of the tournament opener against the All Blacks in
on 21 September.
But they did enough to prove that they have most of their plans sorted. The front row of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe provided front-foot ball, while the loose forwards did well to get across the ground to shut down the Japanese attacks.
There were some unnecessary box-kicks from Faf de Klerk that didn’t work out, but that was part of the overall style that the Boks are likely to employ against
in two weeks’ time.
Fullback Willie le Roux also displayed a welcome hunger to perform with a busy performance, and he pounced brilliantly on a high ball to put Mapimpi away for his first try after the 20-minute mark.
A massive scrum after a half-an-hour set up Mapimpi for his second, and a Handre Pollard penalty put the Boks 22-0 up at halftime, and ended the match as a contest.
came back with greater fighting spirit in the second half, and were camped inside the Bok 22 for a good few minutes.
But they were repelled by a determined South African defence, and eventually captain Kolisi won the breakdown penalty.
The try of the night came after Le Roux went up for another high kick from Pollard, where Kolbe swung the loose ball to the openside, with Pieter-Steph du Toit showing good temperament to draw the last defender before putting Mapimpi away for his hat trick.
The Boks lost their momentum with the introduction of their replacements, and Erasmus will be concerned about Trevor Nyakane, who left the field with an injury.
Kotaro Matsushima claimed a consolation try for
, but Herschel Jantjies rounded things off with an intercept five-pointer to put the smiles back on the Bok faces.
The Bok coach will be delighted that his team managed to close out
, especially after what happened at the 2015 World Cup, but there were also enough areas that need attention for the players to maintain their sharpness before the All Black showdown.
Japan 7 – Try: Kotaro Matsushima. Conversion: Yu Tamura (1)