The Springbok forwards laid the platform for a convincing 57-3 bonus-point win against Namibia on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI at the City of Toyota Stadium.
Japan’s upset against Ireland was always going to be a tough act to follow. That result in Shizuoka – which was watched in the fanzones and in the bars leading up to the City of Toyota Stadium – appeared to put local and neutral fans in the mood for another surprise performance by a less-fancied side.
The Boks used their set piece to brutal effect in the early stages. Three lineouts yielded three tries and at that point South Africa were on track for a massive and much-anticipated bonus-point victory.
It was interesting to note how the crowd reacted to those early scores, though. There were muted celebrations in the stands as Bongi Mbonambi crashed over – twice – and Mazakole Mapimpi found space down the left-hand touchline.
Whenever Namibia made a dent in the South Africa defence or stood up to the green-and-gold assault, the crowd found its voice. Cliven Loubser’s penalty goal in the 24th minute prompted the loudest cheer of the first half.
The Boks battled to secure clean ball in the latter stages of the first stanza. Handling mistakes – as well as unforced errors such as Elton Jantjies kicking the ball dead when his side won a penalty – prevented the Boks from building momentum.
They finished the half well, though, with captain Schalk Brits getting his hands through a tackle to set up Lukhanyo Am for a try. And yet Namibia – who came into this game without many of their first-choice players – may have been pleased with a 31-3 scoreline at half time.
The Boks upped the tempo in the second half. Namibia battled to contain the ball-carriers in the wider channels and it wasn’t long before Am broke the line.
For once the backs were in sync, with Am delivering an accurate pass to Warrick Gelant, who had followed in support.
As Namibia began to tire, the Boks found more space and more scoring opportunities. The Boks surpassed the 50-points mark before the game entered the fourth quarter.
Replacement prop Johannes Coetzee received Namibia’s second yellow card of the evening for a cynical and unnecessary offence on Brits. The Boks proceeded to set another lineout close to the Namibia tryline, and another maul yielded another try – this time for the captain.
Rassie Erasmus should be reasonably pleased with what the group achieved in this fixture.
The Bok coach made 13 changes after the loss to the All Blacks with the aim of giving his second-choice and fringe players game time. The front and second rows put in a solid showing at the set pieces while the new midfield combination of Frans Steyn and Am appeared to work well – although it took some time for the backline to settle.
The experimental back row of Francois Louw, Kwagga Smith and Schalk Brits offered the side more mobility across the park. When Mbonambi left the field in the 64th minute, Brits moved to hooker and Erasmus trialled yet another loose trio featuring Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert and Louw.
Whether Erasmus has received any significant answers from this big victory is another story.
More changes will be on the cards when the Boks battle Italy in Shizuoka next week. South Africa will be targeting an improvement across the board as well as a win that will all but secure their spot in the playoffs.
FT – The @Springboks claim a 57-3 bonus-point victory over Namibia.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) September 28, 2019
Springboks – Tries: Bongi Mbonambi (2), Francois Louw, Makazole Mapimpi (2), Lukhanyo Am, Warrick Gelant, Siya Kolisi, Schalk Brits. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (6).
Namibia – Penalty: Cliven Loubser.
This is why we love our sport.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 28, 2019
Springboks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Schalk Brits (c), 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Eben Etzebeth, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Damian de Allende, 23 Cheslin Kolbe.
Namibia – 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Chad Plato, 13 JC Greyling, 12 PJ Walters, 11 Lesley Klim, 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Adriaan Booysen, 7 Max Katjijeko, 6 Thomasau Forbes, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi (c), 4 Johan Retief, 3 AJ De Klerk , 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Des Sethie.
Subs: 16 Obert Nortje, 17 Andre Rademeyer, 18 Johannes Coetzee, 19 Prince !Gaoseb, 20 Janco Venter, 21 Wian Condradie, 22 Helarius Axasman Kisting, 23 Johan Deysel.
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images