Hat-tricks from Cobus Reinach and Makazole Mapimpi helped South Africa thump Romania 76-0 in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool ‘B’ match in Bordeaux, France.
The bonus-point win helped put the reigning champions in prime position for a huge showdown with world No. 1-ranked Ireland, who beat Tonga 59-16 on Saturday night, next.
South Africa made 14 changes to the team that ran on for their opening 18-3 win against Scotland last weekend but still started with eight Rugby World Cup winners from their 2019 squad, including Reinach and Mapimpi.
The Springboks had the first four of their 12 tries and a bonus point inside 12 minutes. Reinach had his third try in the 24th minute to just miss his own record for the fastest hat-trick at the Rugby World Cup, which he set against Canada four years ago.
South Africa went over five times in the first half and on seven further occasions in the second to dismantle the underdog Romanians in a match that was one-sided from the start.
Along with two players scoring hat-tricks, Grant Williams crossed twice, with Damian Willemse, Dean Fourie and Willie Le Roux getting one apiece and the Springboks being awarded a penalty try as well.
Away from the convincing result, South Africa also made big gains with some of its tactical experiments, with Williams, normally a scrum half, showing his searing pace to get two of the tries after starting as a wing. The Boks brought Fourie, normally a flanker, off the bench to play hooker in the second half and he hit his line-out jumpers and marked his World Cup
debut at the age of 36 with a try in the middle of a maul.
Fourie may have to be South Africa’s backup hooker for the rest of their efforts to retain the World Cup after a tournament-ending injury to Malcolm Marx earlier in the week. (C.D)