NZ Herald

How the world media reacted to the Springboks’ 26-3 quarter-final win over Japan.

South Africa are a suffocating boa constrictor who slowly squeezed the life out of Japan before eating them whole – by Tom Cary of The Telegraph

“At the end the tears flowed liberally both on and off the pitch as Japan’s players took their final bows; just one of the customs we have grown to love about this team and this country.

“Yu Tamura, the fly-half with the goatee which looks a bit like that funny haircut that Brazil’s Ronaldo had at the 2002 World Cup, only transposed to his chin, limped around with a broken rib, sobbing.

“Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka, Japan’s twin “Ferraris on the wings”, as South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus described them in the press conference afterwards, smiled ruefully.

“They have become global superstars at this World Cup – Matsushima in particular would be a canny signing for a European outfit looking for a presence in the Far East.

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“The dreadlocked Shota Horie, he of the cult rock-paper-scissors video on social media, which saw him bashing his coach Jamie Joseph over the head with a plastic hammer, spoke of his pride at what the Brave Blossoms had achieved.

“It felt poignant, especially in the wake of the devastation Hagibis wrought upon the country. It would have been wonderful to see Japan continue the dream.

“South Africa, though, do not do sentiment. Erasmus’ hulking brood of manbots are a mauling, suffocating boa constrictor of a side who slowly squeeze the life out of you before eating you whole.”

Controversy As The Beast Sees Yellow For Dangerous Tip-Tackle – by Sean McMahon of Pundit Arena

“Initially, it looked like the Springboks’ power game would be too much to handle but Japan were offered some respite when Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira committed a tip-tackle on a Japanese player.

“Referee Wayne Barnes immediately handed out a yellow card without consulting his TMO but there is a strong argument that it should have been red due to the reckless nature of the incident.”

Forwards fire to offset backline blunders – by Jon Cardinelli of SARugbyMag

“We’ve seen this movie before.

“Four weeks ago, the Boks dominated the All Blacks at the set pieces and created a number of scoring chances during the early stages. Poor decision-making and worse handling, however, saw them spurning those opportunities and failing to take control of the contest.

“On Sunday, South Africa manhandled Japan at the scrum – even in the period during the first half when they were reduced to seven men after Beast Mtawarira was sent to the sin bin. They completed several telling steals at the lineout and appeared to average 15 to 20m with every one of their well executed mauls.

“The Boks marched Japan some 40m downfield in the lead-up to Faf de Klerk’s try in the 66th minute. That maul was the play of the game – the moment where the Bok behemoths combined to form a unit that was more powerful and destructive than the sum of its parts.

“Unfortunately, it was a rare example of the Boks putting points on the board after harnessing the awesome power at the set piece. Their passing and decision-making often let them down, and they should be disappointed that they didn’t put more tries past a game yet limited Japan.”

South Africa to face Wales in semi-final after grinding down Japan – by Paul Rees of The Guardian

“South Africa trampled all over a dream to leave many of Japan’s supporters in tears at the final whistle but the home side had already achieved a victory that even five weeks ago looked unlikely: acceptance that a place should be found for an inspired, innovative team who bring a refreshing vibrancy to a game that at the top level was becoming stereotyped and stale.

“It is up to those running the game to ensure the interest in rugby sparked by Japan’s achievement in reaching the knockout stage for the first time is not dissipated by inaction. That Japan asked more searching questions of South Africa than Italy, who have been in the Six Nations since 2000, did in the group stage, said everything about the need to involve them in the Rugby Championship without delay.”

Japan’s dream Rugby World Cup campaign ended by South Africa – by Tom Hamilton of ESPN

“The Japan fans woke from their rugby dream to the sound of South African cheers reverberating around Tokyo.

“But as the Springboks’ insurmountable lead grew in this Rugby World Cup quarterfinal, still the local supporters shouted, hoped and desperately clung to tentative hopes of a second rugby miracle. Michael Leitch, the Japan captain, was still cheered to the rafters every time he got the ball; every knock-on or penalty in their favour was still welcomed like it was their lifeline.

“But as this World Cup has increasingly showed, there is no room for sentimentality and under the night sky on their own patch of land, Japan’s fairy-tale tournament was brought to an abrupt finish as the Springboks eventually closed it out with a 26-3 victory.”

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This article first appeared on and was republished with permission.

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