South Africa 64-0 USA: Springboks smash USA in first whitewash of the tournament
- Bryan Habana scores hat-trick to move level with Jonah Lomu on 15 Rugby World Cup tries
- Springboks finish top of Pool C and will now face either Australia or Wales in the quarter-finals
- The USA still have one match against Japan on Sunday to come
- First time the Eagles have been nilled at the finals in 28 years
Bryan Habana made history with his second World Cup hat-trick seeing him level Jonah Lomu as joint record try scorer in the history of the competition.
South Africa showed no mercy against a second string USA side as they ran in 10 unanswered tries.
This is the first win to nil in the World Cup since Wales destroyed Fiji 66-0 four years ago, and it is The Eagles biggest margin of defeat on the biggest stage of them all.
The USA were last whitewashed 28 years ago, and they ought to count themselves lucky that the score was not even heavier.
The Americans did remarkably well to limit the half-time score to 14-0, but the Springboks blew them away after the break to top Pool B in style.
South Africa risked going down to 14 after just a minute and a half of play, with Schalk Burger guilty of a neck roll, which has become a bit of a feature of this World Cup.
The USA opted for a shot at the posts from the resulting penalty, but the distance was too much for Folau Niua to be able to slot home a speculative effort.
The Springboks made the breakthrough far too easily, as sloppy USA defence left a loose ball on the ground for Damian De Allende to scoop up for his first international try, which was duly converted by Handre Pollard.
On 14 minutes, South African-born scrum-half Niku Kruger had a chance to register USA’s first three points of the afternoon, but his close-range effort crashed off the left-hand upright.
A nasty looking aerial collision between Bryan Habana and Blaine Scully saw the American fullback collect the ball but both players came crashing down to the turf. As the ball was contested fairly, it was nothing more than a scrum to the Eagles.
Jesse Kriel thought that he had scored South Africa’s second try on 25 minutes, but the lean centre did not quite have enough strength or momentum to reach the line and was brilliantly held up.
It finally came on 27 minutes, when referee Pascal Gauzere lost patience with the USA scrum and after several warnings, awarded the Springboks a penalty try, which Pollard duly converted.
South Africa looked to finish the half strongly with a third try, but they almost conceded an intercept counter when Scully snatched a loose pass out the air, but he did not have the legs to run it home.
Bryan Habana took just one minute into the second 40 to register his 62nd international try, with the veteran wing timing his run brilliantly to get on the end of captain Fourie Du Preez’ inch-perfect grubber kick.
The bonus point was secured on 47 minutes, with Bismarck Du Plessis barging over from a recycled ruck to make it 26-0.
Francois Louw registered try number five of the afternoon and his seventh for the Boks on the 53-minute mark, with the score threatening to humble The Eagles.
Habana completed his hat-trick either side of the hour mark to draw level with Jonah Lomu on 15 World Cup tries.
The smiling back thought that he had clinched the one that would have seen him stand alone as the record World Cup try scorer, but the ball squirmed through his hands as he slid to scoop it over the line.
Another driving maul saw Louw register his second try of the afternoon and see South Africa break the 50 point mark for the first time in this World Cup.
Kriel got in on the act on 73 minutes as the USA rearguard continued to crumble. Morne Steyn failed a second conversion attempt, but South Africa had an unassailable 57-0 lead with the USA praying for the clock to tick down.
There was still time for Lwazi Mvovo to make the try count double figures for the Springboks as the wing rounded off a resounding 64-0 win.
What comes next
South Africa have sent a huge warning shot to both Australia and Wales, one of which will be their quarter final opponents. The Springboks have truly banished their Japanese demons, and they will now aim to become the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup having lost their opening Pool game. Heyneke Meyer now has 10 days to prepare his side for a massive quarter final, and this landslide win will give them huge confidence heading into that one.
USA intentionally fielded a weakened side with their final Pool clash with Japan in mind, and they must now make sure that it was a correct decision by bagging their first win of the tournament. The Brave Blossoms will be ready and motivated, with a place in the knockout phase still a real possibility for them, so the Eagles must put this result behind them and bring their A-game to sign off with a victory.
Man of the match-Damian De Allende
The dynamic centre set the ball rolling, quite literally, on what ended up being the most one-sided result of this World Cup so far, with his first international try. De Allende was a nuisance all afternoon and sparked several breaks to set the Springboks on their way with a relentless flurry of fruitful attacks.
South Africa: 15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian De Allende (Jan Serfontein 60), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Handre Pollard (Morne Steyn 56), 9. Fourie Du Preez (Rudy Paige 63), 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Schalk Burger (Willem Alberts 48), 6. Francois Louw, 5. Lodewyk De Jager (Pieter-Steph Du Toit 63), 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe (Coenie Oosthuizen 60), 2. Bismarck Du Plessis (Schalk Brits 56), 1. Tendai Mtawarira (Trevor Nyakane 56)
USA: 15 Blaine Scully (Chris Wyles 70), 14 Brett Thompson, 13 Folau Niua, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Zach Test, 10 Shalom Suniula, 9 Niku Kruger, 8 Samu Manoa (Cam Dolan 48), 7 John Quill, 6 Danny Barrett (Al McFarland 57), 5 Matthew Trouville (Zach Fenoglio 70), 4 Louis Stanfill, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Phil Thiel (Joe Taufetee72), 1 Oli Kilifi (Mate Moeakiola 58)