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September 30th, 2007
Africa dealt an outclassed American outfit a 64-15 hiding in
USA were game for the physical confrontation, but
unfortunately never had the necessary skill to remain in the
contest. While it wasn’t the perfect performance from the
Springboks, they will head into the quarter-finals with
plenty of momentum.
It was a disappointing start by the Boks, who coughed up
possession on several occasions deep inside the USA 22. The
American defence was aggressive and many of their players
did their best to spoil. Referee Tony Spreadbury eventually
reached into his pocket and sent Todd Cleaver to the sin-bin
after the flanker had impeded yet again in the red zone.
Despite conceding several turnovers, the Boks were able to
generate a few of their own through Wikus van Heerden. It
was the Bulls fetcher who set up Frans Steyn’s try after
making the vital steal on the USA 22. CJ van der Linde
shifted it on to Steyn, who zig-zagged through the defence
for a great try.
Bryan Habana picked up his 27th Test try moments later, but
his electric pace was to be shown inadequate on the stroke
of half-time. Zimbabwean-born winger Takudzwa Ngwenya
received a floating pass on halfway. A man who boasts a 10.5
time in the 100m sprint left the Bok flyer for dead after an
outrageous step, and as Spreadbury signalled halftime the
Americans had fought back to 24-10.
But Habana picked up his second soon after the break
followed by a great individual surge by Van der Linde. The
Americans managed to run in their second after some loose
play by the Boks on their own tryline resulted in a
turnover. However, Fourie du Preez hit back right away when
the South African scrum mauled their opponents and provided
a great platform.
The Boks were dominant in the line-outs, with Juan Smith
having a big game in this department. USA struggled to
secure ball at this set-piece due to some good contesting by
Victor Matfield, who had no trouble working out the
The best of South Africa’s nine tries resulted from a slick
line-out move involving both forwards and backs. Schalk
Burger, who had bashed the ball up for most of the evening,
passed to Butch James in midfield who then fed a neat inside
offload to JP Pietersen. Jaque Fourie received the final
pass to round off a great team try.
While the Boks won comfortably, there is little doubt a more
clinical showing against better forward opposition will be
required in the play-offs. Jake White will also be concerned
with an injury to Habana, who clashed heads with Ngwenya in
the 53rd minute and was forced to leave the field.
South Africa - Tries: Schalk Burger, Frans Steyn, Bryan
Habana (2), CJ van der Linde, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie
(2), Juan Smith. Conversions: Percy Montgomery (6), Butch
James (2). Penalty: Montgomery.
USA - Tries: Takudzwa Ngwenya, Chris Wyles. Conversion: Mike
Hercus. Penalty: Hercus.
By Jon Cardinelli
Posted by JC | Keo.co.za