Left-wing Makazole Mapimpi has scored a hat-trick of tries as South Africa beat Japan 41-7 in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Kumagaya.
The Springboks who led 22-0 at half time, scored six tries in total to the one of Japan.
It was sweet revenge for the Springboks who suffered an embarrassing 34-32 defeat to Japan in their opening match of the 2015 World Cup in England.
It also provided the Springboks with the opportunity to experience the heat and humidity in match conditions ahead of their opening Pool B match against the All Blacks in Yokohama on the 21st of this month.
With two weeks to go before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan, this warm-up match would’ve served as a helpful gauge as to the strengths and weaknesses ahead of their opening Group games.
The previous time these two country’s met was in 2015, the Springbok faithful will never forget that evening as South Africa went down 34 to 32 in what many believe to be the biggest upset in World Cup history.
While the opening moments of the match were scrappy and slow paced, it took just over six minutes for the deadlock to be broken.
The middle of the park was well contested and somewhat evenly matched, but out wide the Springboks seemed to be in a class of their own.
With the strategy out wide working just fine, a second try by Mapimpi soon came about and the Springboks took a 22-nil lead into half-time. There was a sense of urgency in Japan’s game when play resumed and the Springboks defence and discipline were put to the test and they passed that test as well.
Soon after Mapimpi completed his hat-trick and with the scoreline looking comfortable, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus rung the changes in his forward pack, the trio of Trevor Nyakane, Beast Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi replacing the front row that started the match.
There was also a tweak in the backline with Handre Pollard coming off for Frans Steyn, before Steyn had settled, Japan took advantage of a rare Springbok mistake to open their account.
Following that try, the match opened up a bit Japan looking to further exploit the new-look midfield following more substitutions by Erasmus, they were made to pay dearly though as the Springboks ran in two more tries.
Cheslin Kolbe completed his double before replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies scored his 4th Try in his third match for the Springboks.
The two-time world champions ran out 41 points to 7 victors and now the All Blacks await in Yokohama in 15 days’ time.