Cape Town - Official: South Africa no longer have a nought percent win record against Japan.

It has mushroomed to 50 as the Springboks easily avenged the Brighton horror of four years ago in Saitama on Friday (41-7) to make it 1-1 in bilateral terms.

This closing Test before the rigours of the World Cup - and that first-game humdinger against the All Blacks in 15 days' time - would have gone very agreeably to plan for head coach Rassie Erasmus.

The Boks weren't perfect (perhaps that wouldn't have been ideal anyway?) but they were pleasingly workmanlike, fit in the slippery, humid conditions, and intelligent tactically en route to the six-tries-to-one triumph.

Japan had their fair share of the play, including slight overall advantage in territory and forcing the Boks into making considerably more tackles than they did.

But that was also a reflection of how confident the Boks are in their defensive alignment and devotion; they were especially resilient on their own goal-line and were rewarded with a couple of long-range breakaway tries partly as a result.

They also engineered some smart dot-downs from their own constructiveness and polish while on the front foot ... the most gleeful beneficiary being left wing Makazole Mapimpi who registered a maiden hat-trick of tries and had a sparkling outing more broadly to allay any suggestions he should make way for a Kolbe-Nkosi wing alliance.

Here's how I rated the Boks in Saitama:

Willie le Roux: 7

The cleverness of his passing game was there for all to see, and the seasoned fullback also claimed a beautiful aerial win before off-loading to Mapimpi for his second try. Contributed pleasingly to tactical-kicking facet, too.  

Cheslin Kolbe: 7.5

You just can't keep the little guy down. Another whole-hearted, vibrant game from the French-based back-three torpedo. One close-range try and another from a well-read intercept a long way back on the park. Contested courageously in the air, and made some firm tackles even if there was one late gremlin in that regard.

Lukhanyo Am: 7.5

Worked his socks off in an extended shift. Timed his "rushes" on defence extremely well most of the time, got busy over the ball when he could and safely pouched a high ball under some pressure.

Damian de Allende: 6  

Very mixed bag. One of the main handling offenders in the sticky heat, he also badly sliced a kick into touch when keeping the ball in hand looked a much more promising option. Otherwise, though, some seriously robust hits on defence and magical little bursts of hand skills.

Makazole Mapimpi: 8

Electric outing; perhaps his best overall Test on eighth appearance ... and now with exactly as many international tries. While one was an effortless romp-over after a killer Bok scrum, he had a bit to do before dotting the others and looked razor-sharp as a finisher. Just as gladdening: his defensive effort was right on the button as well.

Handre Pollard: 7

Overall confidence levels apparent once again; passing was crisp and speedy in some try-producing attacks. Might have been disappointed with a couple of misses off the tee, though others sweetly struck.

Faf de Klerk: 6.5

Glitches here and there, but his restless energy made life bothersome for Japan when they had the ball; ran up swiftly in rush defence. Nice mini-break ahead of Kolbe’s first dot-down, and a couple of deft, territory-gaining kicks.

Duane Vermeulen: 7

Regular, reliable collector of kick-in balls ... and he would smash it straight back up willingly and forcefully. Good director of traffic as a senior pro. Won a penalty on the deck.

Pieter-Steph du Toit: 6.5

One of his less conspicuous days as a rampaging ball-carrier, but usual high volume of donkeywork in his landmark 50th Test. Intelligent final pass to Mapimpi for his hat-trick try.

Siya Kolisi: 6

Relatively subdued first half for the skipper as he continues to feel his way back after that knee injury. But noticeably lifted his mojo after the break until subbed in 66th minute. Secured vital breakdown penalty after sustained Japanese assault on Bok line.

Franco Mostert: 7.5

In the energy-sapping conditions (30 deg C at kick-off) his engine was tremendous. Helped orchestrate a relieving turnover on own line, had one alert kick charge-down, and thundered back several times to make tackles from behind.

Eben Etzebeth: 6.5

Responsible for two spring-heeled poaches of Japanese lineout ball, and made physical presence felt even if quieter than usual in carrying department. Some key tackles when Boks under cosh.

Frans Malherbe: 6

Longer shift than expected because he only got a 14-minute breather: replacement Trevor Nyakane limped off after arriving in 50th minute and exiting again in 64th. Secure at scrum-time, and industrious enough in Bok mauling (and enemy maul-stopping) efforts.

Malcolm Marx: 6

Decent rather than wowing. Robust at close quarters, and gave final pass (even if a bit ropey) for Kolbe’s opening try. Lineout efficiency pleasing enough; not his fault that Etzebeth lost one off his fingertips through slipperiness.

Steven Kitshoff: 6

Slightly off normal high standards, but competent nevertheless. Made a couple of strong cover tackles and solid at the set-piece. Lost one ball in contact as carrier.

Standout substitute:

Jesse Kriel: 6.5

Not a hugely notable day for impact, generally, off the Bok bench. Kriel was holding an ice pack to the back of his neck after the final whistle, but in a limited stay on the park the replacement midfielder had made plenty of ground and showed fine tenacity on defence.

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