World Cup - Springboks eliminate brave Samoa

Fri, 30 Sep 14:30:00 2011

South Africa withstood a brave Samoa fight back to seal top spot in World Cup Group D with a 13-5 victory at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.

Bryan Habana scores a try - 0

Bryan Habana scored an early try as the Springboks lead 13-0 at the break but George Stowers replied in the second-half as the South Sea Islanders piled the pressure on the defending champions.

But the Springboks held on to reach the quarter-finals and set-up a likely meeting with Australia while Samoa, who finished the game with 14 men after the dismissal of Paul Williams, are eliminated.

Wales will take second place in the group if they collect a single point in Sunday’s group finale against Fiji.

South Africa’s only try came after eight minutes as they worked the ball down the short side with record Springboks try scorer Habana darting into the corner ahead of David Lemi.

Peter de Villiers’ side were aided by a strong wind in the opening half with a monster penalty effort from inside his own half by Frans Steyn hitting the upright before he stretched the lead to 10-0 with a 55m penalty after Samoa were offside at the maul.

South Africa are the only side in the tournament to have won 100% of their own scrums and their dominance drew the penalty with Morne Steyn making it 13-0 after 26 minutes.

But Samoa were defending superbly, with some typically big hits, and were outstanding after the break.

Habana limped off early in the second period with a thigh injury and their woes were compounded when Samoa won great scrum ball and following some sublime handling, number eight Stowers dived over to reduce the deficit to eight.

They were penalised straight from the re-start for offside but Morne Steyn’s effort from the left touchline drifted wide and South Africa were then denied a try after the TV official could not see enough evidence that Bismarck du Plessis had grounded the ball.

But they were forced into some desperate defending as Pat Lambie made a try-saving tackle after a superb break from David Lemi before the full-back shovelled into touch after Williams’ kick through aimed for Alesana Tuilagi.

Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu was then held up a metre short before JP Pietersen did a superb job to dislodge the ball and Samoa’s ambitions were hindered when Williams was sent off for pushing Heinrich Brussow in the face 11 minutes from time.

But it was soon 14-a-side as John Smit was sin binned for a cynical knock-on but the South Sea Islanders could not force another score and they did not even gain a losing bonus point to show for their brave effort.

South African flanker Schalk Burger was named man-of-the-match for his nuisance work at the breakdown where the Springboks claimed eight turnovers.

SCORING TIMELINE:

8’ Habana try – SA 5-0

9’ M Steyn conversion – SA 7-0

24’ F Steyn penalty – SA 10-0

36’ M Steyn penalty – SA 13-0

51’ Stowers try – SA 13-5

Lee Walker - follow me on Twitter @leewalk498 / Eurosport

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