TOKYO – For all of South Africa's physical dominance of Japan in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Sunday, the Springboks are aware that they were lucky to get away with a 26-3 win after they squandered several point-scoring opportunities.
Rassie Erasmus's side face Wales in a semi-final next Sunday in Yokohama where they are unlikely to get as many chances against the Six Nations champions.
“We must find those pressure points ... (and) when we get the opportunity, we must utilise them,” Erasmus said after his side wasted three or four chances to put their quarter-final beyond doubt by halftime. “Then we have a chance.”
The Springboks have not advanced to the World Cup final since they lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in Paris in 2007, and at times in the first half they were scrambling against a fast-paced Japanese side in the cool Tokyo conditions.
The key to their victory, however, was laid in that troubled first half when the much bigger Springboks hurt the Japanese in the collisions.