Springboks demolish Romania in Bordeaux

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  • Post published:September 17, 2023

South Africa ran in 12 tries to secure a 76-0 demolition of Romania in rainy Bordeaux at the Stade Matmut-Atlantique on Sunday.

Reinach, who is 33 years old, scored three of South Africa’s first five tries. He finished his hat-trick in just 21 minutes, which is 10 minutes longer than the time it took him to score three tries against Canada in 2019.

Mapimpi also scored in the first half, and he made it a hat trick by scoring two more goals in quick succession in the second half.

“We prepared for the rain, we knew it was coming, but the only thing we spoke about was the physicality. We needed to bring it,” said Mapimpi after the game.

“I don’t put myself in front (first), it’s all about the team. It’s not about me walking over to score the tries. A lot of guys did well – Andre (Esterhuizen), Willie (Le Roux) – and I appreciate their work.”

South Africa had already won their first game of the tournament, 18–3, against Scotland.

After losing badly to Ireland last weekend, Romania lost their second game of the tournament and failed to score for the first time in a World Cup game since 2007.

Malcolm Marx was the first choice hooker, but he hurt his knee and couldn’t play in the tournament. So, Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber put Bongi Mbonambi in that spot.

Nienaber made 14 changes from the game against Scotland because he wants the match against Ireland in six days to decide who wins Pool B.

“I’m especially happy with a couple of things we tried,” said Nienaber.

“The three different hookers that we used – I thought that paid off.

“Then Faf (de Klerk) got some exposure at 10, so I thought a lot of things that we wanted to get out of the game, we got.”

Lock Eugen Apjok, the coach of Romania’s team, the Oaks, gave Andre Gorin his first World Cup start just two months before he turned 36.

The skies were cloudy and a storm was expected, so the 10,000-person fan park was closed for the day. However, the humid weather didn’t stop the Springboks from getting off to a good start.

They had a 26-0 lead in less than a quarter of an hour, thanks to Reinach’s two early tries, Mapimpi’s first try, and Damian Willemse’s touchdown for the bonus point. This was the fastest time in World Cup history that a team scored four tries in a game.

The 38,000 people in the stadium cheered the loudest when Romania won a penalty just outside South Africa’s 22m, but winger Tevita Manumua missed his shot on goal. That was the closest the Oaks came to scoring.

After 20 minutes, the players took a water break because it was hot and humid. Even though it was pouring rain, Reinach still scored his third goal.

At halftime, Nienaber’s team was ahead 33-0, and some fans in the lower sections of the stands got out of the rain to watch.

After the break, it stopped raining, but the pitch was still wet until Deon Fourie scored from a rolling maul. This was his first Test appearance at hooker since 2022, when he replaced Mbonambi.

Willemse missed his second of seven conversions during the game. This shows why Nienaber is thinking about adding Handre Pollard, who won the World Cup in Japan and is a reliable kicker, to his team.

One of Willemse’s last things was to add the extra points to Grant Williams’ try. After that, scrum-half Faf de Klerk got a chance to play fly-half, since Nienaber’s only other stand-off was the inconsistent Manie Libbok.

In the final quarter, De Klerk converted two of the four tries that winger Williams scored. Mapimpi scored his second and third tries before fullback Willie Le Roux finished the rout. The Boks’ record World Cup win of 87-0 against Namibia in 2011 still stands as the most points ever scored in a World Cup game.

Photo by David Winter/Shutterstock