Hat-trick hero Cobus Reinach says he was still trying to catch his breath when someone informed him that he’d broken a World Cup record. JON CARDINELLI in Kobe reports.
The Boks scored 10 tries in their 66-7 win against Canada on Tuesday. Reinach – in a rare start at No 9 for South Africa – scored a hat-trick inside the first 20 minutes of the contest.
World Rugby subsequently confirmed that Reinach had broken the record for the fastest hat-trick in World Cup history. Wallabies fullback Chris Latham scored three tries in 25 minutes against Namibia back in 2003.
Reinach was in high spirits when he faced the media after the game against Canada. He laughed when he was asked whether he knew about the record.
‘Not at all. I was just trying to stop my heart from beating when I came off the field in the second half,’ he said.
The scrumhalf’s outstanding vision, speed and decision-making was apparent in the buildup to his first try. Reinach broke from the base of the ruck, accelerated away from the opposition, and then chipped the ball over the final defender.
‘I tried to take the outside once or twice in training this week,’ Reinach said with a smile, when he was asked why he decided to kick.
‘That didn’t work, so when I found myself in that position in the game, I decided to chip the ball instead.’
Jaco Reinach, his father, was a Springbok athlete and rugby player. While the rugby world has known for some time that Cobus is a chip off the old block, the game in Kobe provided the scrumhalf with an opportunity to showcase his strengths on the World Cup stage.
‘I’ve seen those clips of my dad many times before. Those are some wonderful memories,’ he said.
‘I wasn’t thinking about that when I was on the field, though. I was just thinking about getting to the tryline as quickly as possible. After that I was trying to catch my breath as I ran back to halfway.’
‘I just want to execute my basics well. When we do that, things will start to happen and opportunities will start popping up. I think that there was some luck in the tries I scored.’
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said that Reinach’s performance highlighted the squad’s depth at scrumhalf. Twelve months ago, the Boks were short on options in this position.
‘I knew Cobus’ dad well. Cobus has got the same X factor and exceptional speed. He’s got good anticipation and when he gets a sniff in space he’s gone.
‘Between Cobus, Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies, we are well covered in that position.’
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets