After a shock start to their campaign, South Africa blossomed into title contenders before falling at the semi-final stage against New Zealand.
South Africa 32-34 Japan
Saturday, September 19, Pool B Round 1
One of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history took place in from of nearly 30,000 fans at Brighton and Hove Albion’s home.
Tries from Francois Louw, Bismarck du Plessis, Lood de Jagger and Adriaan Strauss, coupled with three goals each from Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard seemed to give the Springboks the edge, but Michael Leitch and Ayumu Goromaru tries, plus seven goals from Goromaru kept the underdogs in touch before Karne Hesketh’s memorable try sealed a shock win on the last play of the game.
South Africa 46-6 Samoa
Saturday, September 26, Pool B Round 2
The Springboks bounced back in stunning style a week on from their Japan collapse, thrashing Samoa at Villa Park.
JP Pieterson finished the game with a hat-trick with Schalk Burger, Schalk Brits and Bryan Habana also going over for tries.
Five goals from Handre Pollard and one from Pat Lambie saw them past the 40-point mark, meaning Michael Stanley’s pair of penalties meant little in the end.
South Africa 34-16 Scotland
Saturday, October 3, Pool B Round 3
A robust performance in front of over 52,000 people at St. James’ Park ensured the Springboks a second successive win as they overcame Scotland.
First-half tries came from Schalk Burger and JP Pieterson before Bryan Habana added a third late in the second half. This added to Handre Pollard’s 19-point haul from the tee was enough to claim the spoils, meaning three goals from Greig Laidlaw and one from Duncan Weir on top of Tommy Seymour’s try weren’t enough for the Scots.
South Africa 64-0 USA
Saturday, October 7, Pool B Round 4.
Arguably the ‘Boks’ most convincing performance to date came at the Olympic Stadium as Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries as South Africa blew the USA away.
Damian de Allende kicked off the scoring before a penalty try on top of two Handre Pollard conversions saw South Africa have the lead after a tight first period. However, Habana’s 19-minute hat-trick blew the game open before Bismarck du Plessis, Jesse Kriel and Lwazi Mvovo all scored alongside a brace for Francois Louw. From the tee, Pollard and Morne Steyn kicked four and three goals respectively.
South Africa 23-19 Wales
Saturday, October 17, quarter-finals
A tight affair at Twickenham saw Handre Pollard steal the show with an 18-point haul from the tee.
Dan Biggar scored 17 of Wales’ points on the back of Gareth Davies’ first-half try, but late heartbreak was to come as scrum-half Fourie du Preez crossed the whitewash on 75 minutes to hand Heyneke Meyer’s men a decisive lead against the injury-ridden Welshmen.
South Africa 18-20 New Zealand
Saturday, October 25, semi-finals
Again it was Handre Pollard who starred with the boot, scoring 15 of his side’s points in a hard-fought battle with their southern hemisphere rivals New Zealand at Twickenham.
Pollard kicked his side into a 12-7 half-time lead, with his four penalties cancelling out All Black Jerome Kaino’s early try, which was converted by Dan Carter.
But the All Blacks completed the turnaround after the break as Carter kicked a drop goal and a penalty either side of Beauden Barrett’s try to secure their place in the final.