Planet Rugby

Boks show Fiji no mercy

17th September 2011 06:37

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steenkamp south africa v fiji

On their way: Gurthr÷ Steenkamp scores the first try for South Africa

South Africa made up for their opening World Cup wobble against Wales by powering past Fiji 49-3 in Wellington on Saturday.

The defending champions were a far superior outfit from the one that edged the Welsh by one point a week ago, and silenced their critics with a comprehensive six-try victory.

Perhaps the biggest achievement for South Africa was keeping the Flying Fijians tryless, and credit must go to their outstanding defence which was rock-solid for 80 minutes.

Whilst Fiji never took a step back, the Boks simply had too much class for the islanders in a free-flowing spectacle that saw plenty of running rugby - most of which came from the men in green and gold.

Fiji had the Boks on the backfoot for the early stages of the first half after stringing some impressive phases together with ball in hand, and it took some tremendous defensive work from South Africa to keep the islanders at bay.

Bok pivot Morne Steyn missed his first shot at goal that would have given his team the perfect start with barely three minutes gone on the clock, but his namesake Francois was more successful with a whopping 60m penalty kick to put South Africa on the board.

Fiji replied with a three-pointer of their own through centre Seremaia Bai that leveled the scores (3-3), but the Boks settled their supporters' nerves when prop Gurthr÷ Steenkamp steamrolled past two tacklers for a well-worked try.

Frans Steyn made the initial break, showing tremendous upper-body strength with ball in hand to take his team into Fiji's dangerzone, before the ball was shifted on the shortside to Steenkamp finished off in the corner.

Morne Steyn was on target with the touchline conversion and stretched his team's lead even further with a penalty that gave SA some breathing space at 13-3.

The Boks weren't done there, however, and were over for their second try when centre Jaque Fourie touched down in the same corner visited by Steenkamp seven minutes earlier. The TMO was called in to judge whether Fourie's foot strayed into touch, but the green light was given.

Steyn missed the conversion put nailed another penalty on the stroke of half-time to take the Boks into the break 21-3 ahead.

After a scrappy start to the second half, a moment of brilliance from Bok flank Heinrich Brussow helped Frans Steyn cross for their third try. With South Africa hot on the attack, Brussow chipped over the top for Steyn to regather and step inside to score. Morne Steyn was on target with the extras.

Despite the quality of the game dropping, with the pace and defensive efforts telling on both sides, the Boks were able to register their 100th World Cup try when Morne Steyn dived over.

Naipolioni Nalaga thought he had finally breached the Boks defence when he dived over in the corner but play was called back for a forward pass.

And South Africa rubbed salt into the wounds as replacement prop Tendai Mtawarira stretched out from close-range after taking a pop pass from that man Frans Steyn who had been stopped inches short. Morne Steyn brought his personally tally to 19 points with the extras.

Nalaga dived over again with nine minutes left but this time the ball was knocked out of his grasp by opposite number JP Pietersen.

Again the Boks made the most of the let-off, with the hard-working Danie Rossouw crashing through with three minutes left to seal the deal for South Africa.

Man of the match: Every Bok player from 1-15 put their hand up, but we'll go for Frans Steyn, who was influential throughout.

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Tries: Steenkamp, Fourie, F Steyn, M Steyn, Mtawarira, Rossouw
Cons: M Steyn 5
Pens: F Steyn, M Steyn 2

For Fiji:
Pens: Bai

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 MornÚ Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Heinrich BrŘssow, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Gurthr÷ Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Franšois Louw, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Franšois Hougaard, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh.

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Gaby Lovobalavu, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Waisea Sedre Luveniyali, 9 Neemia Kenatale, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Maiwiriwiri Waqaniburotu, 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Deacon Manu (c), 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Dautu Tuapati, 17 Waisea Nailago, 18 Netani Edward Talei, 19 Sisa Koyamaibole, 20 Vitori Tomu Buatava, 21 Nicky Little, 22 Ravai Fatiaki.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

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