Back to Results
September 22nd, 2007
Jake White’s ‘insurance policy’ paid off in Lens, as the Bok
bench helped clinch a fortunate 30-25 win against Tonga.
This game confirmed that the Bok second-stringers aren’t in
the same galaxy as the first-choice XV, never mind on the
After 45 minutes Tonga led 10-7, forcing White to bring BJ
Botha, John Smit, Victor Matfield, Juan Smith, Bryan Habana
and Frans Steyn off the bench (and Percy Montgomery a few
minutes later for his record 90th cap). Had White not loaded
his bench with stars the Boks would probably have lost.
The tone for the match was set when Pierre Hola opened the
scoring with a penalty and Andre Pretorius botched two
When the Boks were awarded another penalty, on the left-hand
touchline, the Tongans expected Pretorius to go for goal
again. However, Ruan Pienaar – starting his first Test at
fullback – took the quick tap, outpaced the surprised Tongan
defence and dived over in the corner. Pretorius nailed the
Tonga came back strongly, with flanker Nili Latu breaking
the Bok defence and taking play into the 22. The islanders
briefly attacked around the fringes before Holah threw a
long pass to loosehead prop Soane Tonga’uiha, who ran over
the tryline. But the pass was called forward by referee Paul
Honiss much to the disgust of the French crowd.
South Africa simply couldn’t get going. Pretorius missed
another penalty, before a shocking pass from Wynand Olivier
failed to find Ashwin Willemse on the wing. A minute later,
Ricky Januarie went blind and offloaded to Willemse, who
knocked on over the tryline. They should have scored again
just before half-time when CJ van der Linde charged ahead
only to lose possession on the ground.
If White ripped into the bumbling Boks at the break, his
words had no effect.
The Boks failed to claim the kick off and then put a 22m
drop out into touch. Soon after Tongan tighthead Kisi Pulu
was driven over from a rolling maul to give his side a
three-point lead and prompt the introduction of the Bok
Pretorius missed his fourth penalty, before replacement
Frans Steyn took over the kicking duties and levelled the
The Boks took control in the third quarter, with tries from
Juan Smith, Bob Skinstad and Pienaar making it 27-10.
However, Steyn and Tonga left wing Joseph Vaka were
sin-binned for an off-the-ball scuffle leading up to
Skinstad’s try, while Percy Montgomery missed two of the
Habana was then harshly given a yellow card for not
releasing the tackler, and Tonga scored two quick tries to
make it 27-22. Outside centre Sukanaivalu Hufanga collected
a cross kick to go over in the corner, before a kick infield
saw flanker Viliami Vaki hack ahead and win the race to the
Montgomery and Holah exchanged penalties to set up a
thrilling finale that saw Tonga dominate possession. With
time up, Holah put a kick into the right-hand corner for
wing Tevita Tu’ifua, but the ball bounced cruelly into
South Africa – Tries: Ruan Pienaar (2), Juan Smith, Bob
Skinstad. Conversions: Andre Pretorius, Percy Montgomery.
Penalties: Frans Steyn, Montgomery.
Tonga – Tries: Kisi Pulu, Sukanaivalu Hufanga, Viliami Vaki.
Conversions: Hola (2). Penalties: Pierre Hola (2).
By Simon Borchardt | Keo.co.za