Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett was impressed with South Africa's efforts in their win over Japan in Saitama on Friday.

The Springboks won 41-7, having led 22-0 at half-time in the Rugby World Cup warm-up match.

Mallett commented on the game in the SuperSport studio and said he was more impressed by South Africa's efforts in the first half.

"We said before kick-off the way to play this game was to play territory, have a controlled kicking game and good set piece and to not break it into a touch rugby game," Mallett said.

"And in the first half that was exactly what they did. South Africa scored tries confidently from two set-piece moves and also a turnover to lead 22-0. The second half was a little bit scrappier and loose with the replacements coming on. So there was an against-the-run-of-play try for Japan, which proved what they can do if a game loosens up."

The game was more open in the second period and the Boks were under the cosh defensively for large parts, but showed grit in the way their defended their line.

Mallett added: "Ironically, the Springboks scored two tries when they were down to 14 players and that shows the heart and the competitive edge that this team has developed. They don't like losing and they don’t like conceding tries.

"It was just a good performance. I thought a 20-point win would be good and they were appreciably well over that mark. There's a calmness about this Bok team and there's so much talking and communication both on attack and defence that hasn’t been there over the past few seasons. So it is all very positive."

With the win, the Springboks also buried the ghosts of Brighton where they suffered a shock 34-32 defeat to Japan during the 2015 World Cup.

South Africa's next encounter is their Rugby World Cup opener against New Zealand in Yokohama on September 21.

Compiled by Herman Mostert