Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and hooker Bongi Mbonambi celebrate after defeating Japan in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match in Tokyo yesterday. Photo: Jae C Hong/AP

JOHANNESBURG – One of the biggest talking points on social media after the Springboks’ 26-3 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win against Japan in Tokyo yesterday was the “brain malfunction” suffered by Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira when he tip-tackled opposite number, Keita Inagaki.

Mtawarira was given a straight yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes - without the intervention of the television match official - but it could just as well have been a red card. Mtawarira may well still be suspended and miss the rest of the tournament, which he has already said is his swansong.

Following their win yesterday, the Boks will now face Wales in the semi-finals. The other semi-final will be contested between England and New Zealand. There was high praise all-round for Bok stars Makazole Mapimpi, Faf de Klerk and Damian de Allende. Referee Barnes though came in for some harsh criticism on social media, with legendary golfer Ernie Els tweeting, “Even with shocking calls! Great win! Good luck next week guys!”

Lionel Mapoe, the former Lions centre who now plays in Japan, tweeted: “Well done Boks ... and well done Japan, you have been awesome this tournament ... you can keep your heads up.”

There was also plenty of praise for Japan, who played in their first ever quarter-final. Breyton Paulse tweeted: “Well done Bokke, but I wanna thank the Japanese team for giving us so much joy. Salute Japan.”

The Boks’ victory, according to many, was built on their excellent first-half defence and it didn’t escape the eyes of South African-born Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels who tweeted: “Jacques Nienaber best defence coach in world rugby ... and nobody complaining about Rassie’s five-year contract now.”

The overall feeling on social media was that the Boks had adopted the correct game plan to down a gutsy Japan and the tributes were led by SA president Cyril Ramaphosa. “Superb showing of grit and perseverance by the Springboks,” he tweeted. “Congratulations on a well-deserved win. Wishing the team wisdom and strength for the semi-finals. We are definitely taking this one.”

Meanwhile, minister of sports, arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa tweeted: “What a game! South Africa has progressed to the semi-finals after a brilliant 26-3 win against host nation Japan. Thank you Springboks for showing the world what our country is made of! You came through at the precise moment we needed you to and we couldn’t be happier.”

Rapper AKA tweeted: “Japan never stood a chance mate. We are talking about two-time world champions.”



The Star

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