South Africa celebrated their 500th test by storming into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a 66-7 victory over Canada on Tuesday.
The Springboks ran in six tries in the first half hour at Kobe Misaki Stadium, and Canada’s woes deepened a couple of minutes before halftime when replacement lock Josh Larsen was shown a red card for an illegal shoulder charge at a ruck.
The Boks had wrapped up the bonus-point they needed to secure their quarter-final berth by the 18th minute, with the best of those tries coming from Reinach as he picked up the ball at the base of a ruck inside the Bok 22 and scythed through a gap in the defence.
I believe we can create history in Japan.
The Boks will find out who they face in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Ticket target hit
Rugby World Cup organisers announced on Friday they had hit their target of selling 1.8 million tickets during the tournament.
Despite fears that crowds might be sparse in Japan, not a traditional rugby nation, fans have turned out in their droves, packing stadiums even for games not involving tournament heavyweights.
World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont said the tournament had “captured the hearts and minds of a nation and the global rugby family” and congratulated the Japanese organised for hitting their milestone.
There are now a “limited” number of tickets available on the official ticketing website, as sponsors and nations hand back some seats, organisers said.
“While tickets remain available, our advice to fans is to only buy through official channels to avoid being disappointed,” said Beaumont.
Ticket prices vary widely, from 100,000 yen ($936) for the best seats at the final, to 2,000 yen for the cheapest entry to the pool game between USA v Tonga.
South Africa trounce Italy
South Africa took a critical step towards qualification to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup when they crushed an Italy side reduced to 14 men for most of the second half 49-3 on Friday.
The win at Shizuoka Stadium took the Springboks above the Italians and New Zealand to the top of Pool B.
The ever-dangerous Cheslin Kolbe scored a try in each half and Bongi Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx also crossed to comfortably earn the twice World Cup winners a bonus point.
Italy’s already tricky task became nigh on impossible when they had prop Andrea Lovotti sent off for dropping Duane Vermeulen on his head in the 43rd minute and their slim hopes of progressing now rest on beating the All Blacks for the first time.
“It was tough in the beginning, we knew what the challenge would be and that it would be a forward battle, so from the first scrum we wanted to give everything,” South Africa captain Siya Kolisi told reporters.
“We wanted to control the set-pieces, because they are very strong in that, and we did that today.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks but we have regrouped. Our coaches and management have been backing us by giving us as much information as possible and the way we responded today was really good.”
Italy had spoken before the game of how discipline would be crucial in deciding the outcome but they specatacularly failed to back their words with action as they battled to match the physicality of their fired-up opponents.
“We played against a very strong side,” Italian captain Sergio Parisse said. “We tried to come back in the second half but after the red card it was very difficult.
“It’s tough for us, but we must keep going forward. We are very disappointed, but we must try and finish well against the All Blacks (on Oct. 12).”