Boks whitewash hapless Namibia
South Africa sent out another emphatic message to their World Cup rivals when they whitewashed Pool D opponents Namibia 87-0 at the North Harbour Stadium, in Albany, on Thursday.
Bryan Habana broke a record and South Africa duly won by a big score, which was predictable but oddly enough not altogether satisfying.
Namibia were brave and well organised but lost by a big score and that was unsatisfying. Lots of the Springbok play up to the last quarter of the match had been unsatisfactory but still they were 38-0 up, thanks to good players who are full-time professionals playing against players who were largely amateur - really club players.
Habana's try, scored in the 22nd minute, broke the South African Test record of 38 tries which he shared with Joost van der Westhuizen. Habana has now scored 39 Test tries. He got to 39 tries on a day when big Bakkies Botha became 32 years of age.
The Springboks' early play was sloppy - sloppy handling and sloppy at the tackles where the Biltongboere beat them - beat them for numbers and organisation and, because of Springbok negligence, able to put pressure on scrumhalf François Hougaard. Even the line-outs were sloppy. One was skew and two were overthrown and lost.
It's hard to tell whether it was the bench that made the difference or fading effort by the Namibians. It was not all about the introduction of better players. François Louw made a difference at the tackles but Ruan Pienaar's judgement at flyhalf was poor.
The penalties went with the Springboks - 14-6 - largely because of the enthusiasm and determination of the Namibians whose loose trio actually had the edge over the Springboks in the early stages. Part of the problem for the Springboks was not having a fetcher.
The first Springbok points came from a penalty. Jacques Burger was penalised at a tackle and Morné Steyn goaled. 3-0 after 3 minutes.
Namibia won a turnover off Schalk Burger but the Springboks got the first try. The Men in Blue dropped the ball and John Smit swooped on it, diving and instant pass out to Jaque Fourie who gave to Hougaard who gave Gio Aplon and the speedy winner raced through many empty metres to score. 10-0 after 7 minutes.
Hougaard burst through a line-out to 'score' but was called back because the throw-in had been skew. Smit overthrew the line-out and away came Namibian flank Tinus du Plessis racing a long way down the field to set his team attacking.
Frans Steyn won a turnover and Pierre Spies passed immediately to Schalk Burger who gave to Danie Rossouw. The big man skipped two on the way to Habana on the touchline and off Habana went 40 metres to the try-line for try No.39. 17-0 after 22 minutes.
On the attack the Springboks chose a scrum instead of a penalty, the Namibians disintegrated and the referee awarded a penalty try to South Africa. 24-0 in 29 minutes.
From a line-out Frans Steyn burst straight ahead in midfield, flicking and underhand pass to Jaque Fourie who had a simple run-in for the try at the posts. 31-0 after 37 minutes.
From the kick-off Aplon had a long, breathtaking run but what should have become a try fizzled out. The half-time score was 31-0.
Diving onto an Habana grubber Aplon nearly scored but the TMO said he had knocked the ball on.
Hougaard tapped a penalty raced down the middle of the field. Bakkies Botha carried it on and then the Springboks went right where a great pass from Spies sent Frans Steyn in for the try. 38-0 after 48 minutes.
The Springboks' made many changes off the bench and it was now that the scoring soared - 49 points in 18 minutes.
The Springboks made a penalty into a five-metre line-out. The Namibians countered well as they did at all Springbok mauls till the referee told Hougaard to use it or lose it. The scrumhalf nipped around the blindside and gave to Morné Steyn who scored easily. Morné Steyn, the top scorer in the 2011 World Cup so far, then converted from touch. 45-0 after 61 minutes.
Spies then burst down the tight touchline, handing off two would-be tacklers before passing inside to Juan de Jongh, not two minutes on the field, and the centre scored. Ruan Pienaar was now at flyhalf and converted. 52-0 after 63 minutes.
From the kick-off the Springboks attacked down the left through Hougaard and De Jongh. They went right where Smit, now playing tighthead, floated a perfect pass to Aplon who scored. 59-0 after 64 minutes.
It was now one-sided as the Springboks ran from the kick-off. Pienaar had a long break and then, inexplicably, with lots of support kicked the ball into touch.
Willem Alberts, now playing lock, won a Namibian line-out on the Springboks' left. De Jongh cut clean through for his second try. 73-0 after 71 minutes.
Now a great chorus of Olé rose from the crowd as if the match were being played at Newlands. Mind you, there are said to be 60,000 South Africans living in North Auckland where the match was being played.
Tendai Mtawarira, to growls of Beast, had a few charges. Hougaard tapped and the ball went through several hands till Smith gave a sharp pass to Danie Rossouw who burst over. 80-0 after 77 minutes.
Then Hougaard went scooting off some 63 metres to score the final try. 87-0. It was the biggest score of the 2011 World Cup and the first nil score.
Man of the Match: Much as one would have liked to have nominated Tinus du Plessis it was the Springboks after all who were 87 points superior. Our Man of the Match is the liveliest of all those top players - scrumhalf François Hougaard.
Moment of the Match: Bryan Habana's try from Danie Rossouw's pass.
Villain of the Match: Nobody at all. There was not even a cross look.
For South Africa:
Tries: Aplon 2, Habana, Penalty try, Fourie, F Steyn, M Steyn, De Jongh 2, Hougaard 2, Rossouw
Cons: M Steyn 6, Pienaar 6
Pen: M Steyn
South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn , 9 François Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Francois Louw, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh.
Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie van Wyk, 12 Piet van Zyl, 11 Heine Bock, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 7 Jacques Burger (captain), 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Marius Visser, 2 Bertus O'Callaghan, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Jane du Toit, 18 PJ van Lill, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Ryan de la Harpe, 21 Darryl de la Harpe, 22 Conrad Marais.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Tim Hayes (Wales)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)