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Rugby: Japan, South Africa battle for spot in World Cup final four

Japan's Kotaro Matsushima, right, and South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi battle for the ball during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match at Tokyo Stadium between Japan and South Africa in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan and two-time champions South Africa kicked off their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match on Sunday at Tokyo Stadium (Ajinomoto Stadium).

Sixth-ranked Japan won all four of their pool-stage matches, including over heavyweights Ireland and Scotland, as the hosts made their charge to the tournament's knockout stage for the first time.

The game is Japan's third against the Springboks. They emerged famous 34-32 winners over South Africa in a pool game at the previous World Cup in 2015 but were defeated 41-7 in a World Cup warm-up test match on Sept. 6.

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