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Rugby: Springboks star Mapimpi rumbles into Top League playoff q'finals

South Africa Springboks star Makazole Mapimpi (2nd from R) runs with the ball for NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in their 21-13 win over Honda Heat in the second round of the Japan Rugby Top League playoffs at Nagoya's Paloma Mizuho Rugby Ground on April 25, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Springboks 2019 World Cup star Makazole Mapimpi scored NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes' first try in their 21-13 win over Honda Heat in the second round of the Japan Rugby Top League playoffs on Sunday.

    Against host Japan in the last World Cup, Mapimpi scored two tries in the Springboks' 26-3 victory, ending the Brave Blossoms' run in the quarterfinals. Mapimpi, who scored six tries overall, also scored in the World Cup final when South Africa defeated England 32-12.

    The Red Hurricanes set up a May 8 quarterfinal showdown with Toyota Verblitz, who beat Hino Red Dolphins 49-29. That day's other quarterfinal will pit Panasonic Wild Knights against Canon Eagles.

    South African SP Marais scored two tries and Japan international Yu Tamura kicked 11 points for the Eagles, who ended the season of Scotland's Greig Laidlaw with a 43-13 drubbing of NTT Communications' Shining Arcs. Laidlaw kicked two penalties and converted a try.

    Australian Jack Cornelsen and Japan international Kenki Fukuoka each scored two tries in the Wild Knights' 54-7 demolition of Top Challenge side Kintetsu Liners 54-7.

    The playoffs are the last hurrah for Japan's Top League, which will be replaced by a new three-tier setup starting in January.

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