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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Hooker experiment passes with flying colours as rampant Springboks trounce plucky Romania

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It took the Springboks only 11 minutes and 13 seconds to record a bonus point of tries in their Pool B clash against Romania in Bordeaux yesterday as they recorded a 76-0 (halftime 33-0) win in their second match of the Rugby World Cup.

The scoreline ended as many would’ve predicted with South Africa scoring a mammoth 12 tries and keeping their opponents tryless again. The reigning world champions remain the only side to have not conceded a try at the tournament.

Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and winger Makazole Mapimpi both scored a hattrick of tries, while the other wing Grant Williams chipped in with a brace of five-pointers.

A host of tries can probably come into contention for the score of the match, like the one of flyhalf Damian Willemse after he, with some filthy footwork, stepped through the Romanian defence.

Or the World Cup debut try of Williams when he made a beautiful switch with flanker Marco van Staden off the back of a scrum and sprinted through the defence to go over untouched.

But the honour should probably go to the 2019 World Cup final try scorer Mapimpi who received a pass in his half and sprinted down the touchline, side-stepping the last defender with a quick inside outside swerve, scoring a scintillating try.

But the Boks won’t necessarily look at the plenty of tries they scored, but how well they played as a side in a game that could’ve easily turned into a solo affair where players tried to impress the coaches for a spot to play Ireland.

It was not the case, though, and bar for a couple of moments where a player may have made the wrong choice of going on his own, it was a good squad effort to seal the convincing.

Everything started up front and the way the forwards dominated the scrums and rolling mauls, provided the perfect platform from which the Boks could launch attacks.

And that is exactly how it happened.

Thanks to the platform that the forwards provided, Reinach could score his hattrick early on in the game and threatened to improve the record time in which he scored his first World Cup hattrick back in 2019.

Bar the loss of prop Vincent Koch in the warmup before kickoff – he injured his knee – the Springboks can look back on this performance with happiness ahead of the Ireland clash.

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Yes, they made a mistake here and there, especially when the rain came down late in the first half, but the overall performance of the squad was excellent and they will take confidence out of the second tryless match at the tournament.

They scored 33 unanswered points in the first half, and another 43 in the second forty to run away with the game.

Utility forward Deon Fourie also had a good outing as the replacement hooker when he stepped in for captain Bongi Mbonambi, and his lineout throwing was accurate. He also stole a ball at the breakdown seconds after coming on, while scoring a try off that penalty after the Boks kicked the ball to the corner.

Flanker Marco van Staden packed down as hooker in the final scrum of the game, but by then the Romanian pack was already knackered and there was no pressure on the convert to stand his man.

Should the Boks not call up a replacement hooker, it can put them under pressure against Ireland should one of Mbonambi or Fourie go down with an injury. Koch hurt himself in the warm-up before the match, and it could be a big risk for the Boks to be without another recognised hooker in the side ahead of the Irish clash.

Points-scorers

South Africa 76 — Tries: Cobus Reinach (3), Makazole Mapimpi (3), Grant Williams (2), Damian Willemse, Deon Fourie, Penalty Try, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Willemse (5), Faf de Klerk (2).

Romania 0

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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