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Rugby: South Africa leads Japan 5-3 at halftime in QF

Japan's Michael Leitch carries the ball during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match at Tokyo Stadium between Japan and South Africa in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

TOKYO (AP) -- South Africa is leading Japan 5-3 at halftime in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal despite defending for most of the first 40 minutes in their own territory and playing for 10 minutes with a man in the sin-bin.

Two-time champion South Africa is aiming to erase memories of the shocking upset loss to Japan in the World Cup four years ago. Japan is in the quarterfinals for the first time and aiming for another upset.

South Africa got on top early, when winger Makazole Mapimpi beat an attempted tackle from Yu Tamuru after a big shove from South Africa's scrum and scored in the left corner in the 4th minute.

But Japan absorbed the early pressure from a much bigger Springboks pack and started to take control when veteran South Africa prop Tendi Mtawarira was yellow-carded in the 10th minute for a tip-tackle.

He immediately put his hands up to acknowledge the error, but left his team with 14 men for the next 10 minutes in which Japan attacked relentlessly and even took a scrum against the head.

That led to Japan's points, from a calmly taken penalty goal by Tamura in the 20th minute.

Japan did most of the running and went close after a Kenki Fukuoka surge on the left wing, but wasn't able to turn almost 70 percent of possession and territory into a try.

The winner at Tokyo Stadium will play Wales in the semifinals next week.

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