Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Defending champion South Africa scored 12 tries yesterday to defeat Namibia 87-0, the largest margin of victory at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The Springboks’ Bryan Habana set his country’s try-scoring record in the first half. Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh and Francois Hougaard all touched down twice, and Morne Steyn accounted for 20 points with a try, a penalty and 6 conversions at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
South Africa is atop Pool D with 14 points after three games, with Samoa in second in the group with 6 after two matches. Wales and Fiji both have 5 points, with Namibia still without a point. Habana scored in the 23rd minute to reach 39 tries, surpassing Joost van der Westhuizen to become South Africa’s all-time try leader. The Springboks also tied their World Cup record of 10 straight wins.
“We’re making progress,” captain John Smit said. “The first 40 minutes, we got sucked into a few bad habits. We had to refocus at halftime. We got a little bit more reward in the second half.”
Today, Australia takes on the U.S. in Wellington. It’s the seventh time the two sides have played a Test, and the Australians have won by an average of 32 points. The Wallabies, looking to recover from a 15-6 loss to Ireland, won their most recent World Cup match with the Eagles 55-19 in 1999. That was the most points the Americans have scored against the Australians.
By losing to Ireland, Australia set itself up to meet South Africa in the quarterfinals.
Yesterday, the Springboks handed Namibia its 14th World Cup defeat in a row.
South Africa opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty kick by Steyn. Aplon went over two minutes later.
Habana scored on a 39-meter (43-yard) run and then referee George Clancy awarded a penalty try after several infractions by the Namibian pack as South Africa powered forward. Jaque Fourie added a try in the 37th minute.
“We just made too many mistakes and a good side like the Boks are just going to cut you apart,” Namibia captain Jacques Burger said. “We’re very disappointed. We had to go out there and live off the scraps and any opportunity we got score points. Unfortunately we couldn’t do that.”
The Springboks’ 31-0 halftime lead was their largest-ever in a World Cup match.
In the second half, South Africa was able to take advantage of Namibia’s tired squad, and Frans Steyn touched down in the 48th minute as the match began to get away from the underdogs.
Morne Steyn touched down in the 60th minute, with Aplon scoring again four minutes later to join Adriaan Richter, Bakkies Botha, Chester Williams and Habana as Springboks scoring more than one try on their World Cup debut.
Hougaard touched down in the 67th minute, and would later close the scoring in the 79th. In between, De Jongh got his second and Danie Rossouw scored in the 77th minute.
“In a World Cup you’re going to get different types of opposition,” South Africa’s Smit said. “It’s about where you can go from your own standards and what you can improve on. We needed the game time.”
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