South Africa thrash Namibia 87-0 at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
Bryan Habana becomes the Springboks' all-time leading Test try scorer
Winger's score in the first haf is his 39th international try
Defeat extends Namibia's World Cup losing streak to 14 matches
Wing Bryan Habana became South Africa’s all-time leading try scorer on Thursday as the Springboks thrashed Namibia 87-0 at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The 28-year-old went over for the reigning world champions in the first half for his 39th Test try – his first since a score against Italy in June 2010 – to move clear of previous record-holder Joost van der Westhuizen.
The two-time World Cup winners registered 11 other tries to extend their winning run at the four-yearly tournament to 10 matches, and also condemn Namibia to elimination at the pool stage for the fourth competition in a row.
South Africa’s comprehensive victory also secured an unwanted record for Namibia, who suffered a 14th successive World Cup defeat – the worst run in the tournament’s 24-year history.
After an error-ridden first half, the Springboks scored six tries in the final 20 minutes in only their second encounter with their African neighbors following a 105-13 romp in a warm-up game four years ago.
“The first 40 minutes we had a few bad habits which happens as you often get different types of opposition at the World Cup,” winning captain John Smit told the tournament website.
“It was a good chance for us to refocus at halftime, and we had better shape in the second half and got more rewards. We are making progress. Tonight was a good run-out.”
Flyhalf Morne Steyn set the 1995 and 2007 champions on their way when he kicked a successful penalty after three minutes, before wing Gio Aplon went over for the game’s first try three minutes later.
Habana touched down for his historic score on 21 minutes, with South Africa awarded a penalty try after Namibia were overpowered in the scrum on the half-hour.
Center Jaque Fourie registered South Africa’s fourth and final try of the opening period after 38 minutes, before Steyn again converted to make the halftime score 31-0.
Center Francois Steyn added to the tally after the break, and Morne Steyn continued his perfect record in the match by successfully converting before notching a try of his own on the hour mark.
The tries kept coming for the Springboks with center Juan de Jongh coming off the bench to go over the Namibia line with 63 minutes gone, and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar – on as a replacement for kicker Steyn – converted to make the score 54-0.
There was a second try for the 28-year-old Aplon, before a brace from flyhalf Derick Hougaard and further scores from de Jongh and forward Danie Rossouw completed the rout.
South Africa are now in a strong position to reach the quarterfinals ahead of their fourth and final Pool D match with second-placed Samoa on September 30, while Namibia face Wales, who also have last-eight aspirations, in New Plymouth on Monday.
The Boks are on 14 points, eight clear of Samoa – who like Wales, on five, have two matches to play.