TOKYO – South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus had promised Japan no less than what his team delivered on Sunday as they advanced to the last four of the Rugby World Cup - a gruelling first-half physical battle, followed by a second-half of point scoring.
The Springboks duly beat Japan 26-3 in their quarter-final after only leading 5-3 at the break. By then, however, they had laid the foundation for their win, smashing the tournament hosts in contact to the point where most of the home side were walking wounded by halftime.
After wasting three or four golden opportunities to blow the score out by the break, Erasmus's side settled in the second and kept Japan pinned in their own half, then took what opportunities their pressure created.
"We were nervous coming in against Japan and with their home support and the way they have played, building momentum," said Erasmus, who had picked his side specifically to bludgeon Japan into submission.
"Our game plan ... was because we experienced them as being fast, the way they play the game with the Ferrari (Kotaro Matsushima) on the wing, it was no secret.