The Springboks produced an effective all-round performance in their final Rugby World Cup pool match against Canada at the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe City on Tuesday for a rewarding 66-7 victory and a place in the quarter-finals of the international showpiece.
The Springboks started the clash with a bang, racking up an impressive seven first-half tries – which included a hat-trick by Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf) – for a 47-0 lead at the break, and added three more in the second half to take their tally to 10, while limiting the opposition to one.
Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), in turn, kept the scoreboard ticking throughout the match, slotting eight conversions for 16 points.
Their complete dominance in the possession and territory statistics combined with a fine showing in the scrums saw Canada have only two attempts to score in the first half, which they failed to capitalise on.
And to make matters worse, the Canucks lost Josh Larson (replacement lock), to a red card in the 36th minute for a dangerous clean-out at a ruck, which left them a man down for the rest of the clash.
Damian de Allende (centre) earned the first points in the match in the third minute after receiving the ball in space out wide following a great run by Man of the Match RG Snyman and a few effective phases on attack, and Sbu Nkosi (winger) added to this three minutes later as he dived through in the corner from a good break and pop pass by Kwagga Smith (flanker).
The South Africans continued to stamp their authority, with Reinach scoring a great individual try in the 10th minute from a stunning chip-and-chase and he added the team’s bonus-point try seven minutes later after picking up the ball up from the base of a ruck and taking advantage of the clear tryline.
Reniach completed his hat-trick early in the second quarter thanks to a great cross-kick and some fantastic handling and support play by the Boks to stretch their lead to 33-0.
Warrick Gelant (winger) added his name to the growing list of scorers as he used his skill to dance his way through three defenders in the corner.
Canada made their way close to the tryline for the first time in the 35th minute from a clever cross kick, but South African-born winger, DTH van der Merwe, could not gather the ball as Damian Willemse (Springbok fullback) contested in the air.
Canada had another shot at the tryline minutes later as they awarded a scrum metres out, but Larson’s red card for a dangerous shoulder charge on Thomas du Toit (prop) in a ruck dented their hopes of a dramatic comeback.
The Springboks took full advantage of this with Frans Steyn (centre) scoring their seventh try on the stroke of halftime from an intercept on Canada’s tryline, which handed them a rewarding 47-0 lead going into the break.
Canada came out fighting in the second half with Matt Heaton (flanker) gathering a short pass close to the tryline seven minutes in to force his way through the defence, but this was cancelled out by Schalk Brits (Springbok hooker) who showed his array of skills with a smart side-step close to the tryline to get through three defenders.
The Springboks continued to inflict damage with Damian Willemse (fullback) and Frans Malherbe (prop) scoring their first Test tries.
Willemse added the Boks’ ninth try in the fourth quarter after running a good angle on attack to receive the ball with an open tryline, and Malherbe went over seven minutes from the final hooter thanks to a powerful burst through the defence to seal the rewarding 66-7 victory and the big prize of a spot in the final stages.
Springboks – Tries: Damian de Allende, Sbu Nkosi, Cobus Reinach (3), Warrick Gelant, Frans Steyn, Schalk Brits, Damian Willemse, Frans Malherbe; Conversions: Elton Jantjies (8).
Canada – Try: Matt Heaton; Conversion: Peter Nelson.