22 Sep 2011

Merciless South Africa thump Namibia

10:42 pm on 22 September 2011

South Africa showed little mercy as they romped to a 12-try, 87-0 victory over minnows Namibia on Thursday to edge within sight of a Rugby World Cup quarter-final berth.

The twice champions were far too good for their African neighbours at Auckland's North Harbour Stadium, with wing Bryan Habana registering the try needed to become the Springboks' record try scorer.

The result leaves South Africa a victory away from winning Pool D and setting up a likely quarter-final against Tri-Nations champions Australia, Reuters reports.

Although the victory was never in doubt and the winning margin the biggest in the tournament so far, the 10 first-half handling errors would have concerned South African coach Peter de Villiers.

Recalled winger Gio Aplon scored the opening try in the seventh minute before Habana raced in for the second 15 minutes later from 40 metres after a teasing flat pass by lock Danie Rossouw.

The try meant Habana ended a 15-month drought and moved him ahead of former halfback Joost van der Westhuizen onto 39 in the Springbok records list.

De Villiers had opted to go with a number of first-choice players in his line-up despite the inferior opposition and, in the pack especially, the experience told.

Numerous scrum penalties conceded by Namibia near their line resulted in referee George Clancy awarding a penalty try on the half hour.

The Springboks claimed the four-try bonus point seven minutes later when centre Jaque Fourie collected an offload by Frans Steyn in the tackle to run in under the posts.

Namibia have never won a World Cup game and, barring a couple of bright linebreaks by flanker Tinus Du Plessis and their quick winger Heine Bock, they never threatened as the Springboks ended the first half 31-0 in the lead.

More tries followed in the second spell as the Springboks became more clinical, with inside centre Frans Steyn finishing off after a neat pass from No 8 Pier Spies.

First five-eighth Morne Steyn was again impressive with the boot, not missing a kick as he contributed 20 points after converting his own try from the touchline.

After the match Namibia captain Jacques Burger said the result was "very disappointing. We said coming in that we had to keep the mistakes down to a minimum and we just made too many mistakes and a good side like the Boks will cut you apart and that's what they did."


South Africa: Tries: Gio Aplon (2), Bryan Habana, penalty try, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Juan de Jongh (2), Francois Hougaard (2), Danie Rossouw. Penalty: Morne Steyn.

Conversions: Morne Steyn (6), Ruan Pienaar (6).

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)