Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries as the Springboks secured pole position in Pool B with a 64-0 thumping of the USA at the Olympic Stadium. Habana’s three tries brought him level with Jonah Lomu as the top try scorers ever at Rugby World Cups.
The hat-trick, which was almost four tries but for a fumble over the line, also brings Habana equal with David Campese at second place on the all time highest Test try scorers list, with 64. The only person above them is Japan’s Daisuke Ohata, who scored 69 tries in total.
South Africa’s first half performance was a bit scrappy as balls were dropped and opportunities missed. They led 14-0 at the break but kicked into gear in the second, going on to score ten tries in total as the USA became the first side to not score a point in a match at this year’s tournament.
Following South Africa’s shock defeat to Japan in the opening round, coach Heyneke Meyer chose not to take anyone for granted, so picked a strong side to face the Eagles. This win, combined with convincing wins over Samoa (46-6) and Scotland (34-16), will give the Boks some good momentum going into a quarter final against either Wales or Australia.
“We are really happy with our defence as we have only conceded one try in our last three games,” said coach Meyer.
“But we’ve achieved nothing yet and we have to keep our feet on the ground – we will now take a break for a few days before regrouping and getting ready for what will be a very tough quarter-final against either Wales or Australia.”
Meyer praised Habana for his performance and equalling Lomu’s record: “Bryan would be the first to admit it’s not about the individual, but the team. He’s has always played well for me and always comes through in the big games.
“When we really needed him in the last two or three weeks, Bryan delivered his best. I am so proud of him not just as a rugby player but as a human being as well. He is a great ambassador for South Africa,” Meyer added.