South Africa 87 / Namibia 0
It was one-way traffic with South Africa scoring 12 tries after a halting first half. Namibia came out highly motivated and tackled with lots of energy and commitment at the breakdowns. John Smit contributed the slow start afterwards to the fact that South Africa did not maintain structures in the first half. The half-time talk was to keep working as a unit at the collisions and to make sure that the basics are done at scrum and line-out. It paid off in the second half and the Springboks essentially ran away with the match.
It is hard to take anything away from the match but there were a number of things that stood out like the team’s ability to keep it together when they started to run away with the game.
Secondly the performances of a number of players stood out notably Francois Hougaard who scored two tries. Hougaard was impressive with his workrate; ability to create play and to finish off. He started on scrumhalf and moved to the wing later in the match and played well in both positions by creating opportunities for other players and scoring some excellent tries with his support play.
Francios Hougaard impressed with his elusiveness, work rate and ability to score tries. Here he avoids Jacques Niewenhuis.
Hougaard scoring one of his two tries.
Frans Steyn was again impressive on inside centre and made probably the try of the match with a great line-break and off-load to Jaque Fourie.
Frans Steyn off-loading to Jaque Fourie
Willem Alberts was man of the match after a good performance on No 7 and Morné Steyn and Ruan Pienaar (who replaced Steyn early in the second half on flyhalf) walked off the field with a 100% kicking performance; succeeding with each of the 12 conversions.
Morné Steyn setting the ball to kick for goal. Steyn and Ruan Pienaar had a 100% success record with the boot converting all 12 tries.
Gio Aplan got a change on the wing being only one of five changes to the starting line-up who played against Fiji.
Tighthead prop CJ van der Linde, utility forward Willem Alberts, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and winger Gio Aplon received their first starts of the tournament.
Bryan Habana recovered from a knee injury to be recalled, as the Springboks stayed consistent to sticking to their core. Habana scored –at last after having been stuck on 38 tries for 11 test matches- his 39th test try to surpass Joost van der Westhuizen to become South Africa’s most prolific try scorer.
Bryan Habana scoring his 39th test try.
Coach Peter de Villiers defended his decision not to make more wholesale changes against a Namibia side they should rout.
''We have to manage our players sensibly if we want to have 30 players fit when we get to the proper tough games,'' de Villiers said.
''Managing the players and changing the team every week is two things. I said I'm going to manage the players. I didn't say that every week everybody else would play. Along the line we'll have to manage (captain) John (Smit), too.''
John Smit getting tackled by Heinz Koll. Smit had a reasonable game but found himself under increasing pressure for a place in the starting team after Bismarck du Plessis outstanding performances from the bench in the previous two test matches.
With Victor Matfield still out injured, Smit earned his 109th cap for South Africa to move ahead of Matfield and become the Springboks' sole appearance record-holder.
Van der Linde was in for Jannie du Plessis and Alberts replaced Heinrich Brussow in the only changes in the forwards.
Hougaard, took over from Fourie du Preez, and started for the Springboks for the first time since the loss to Scotland last November on scrumhalf.
Hougaard wrestling the ball from Eugene Jantjies.
Back on the wings were Bryan Habana and Gio Aplon, replacing JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane.
In the reserves, Chiliboy Ralepelle was included in a match 22 for the first time for Bismarck du Plessis, who was also rested.
Injured locks Matfield (hamstring) and Johann Muller (hamstring), flyhalf Butch James (hip) and center Jean de Villiers (rib) weren't available.
The team who played in this match were:
Pat Lambie, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Willem Alberts, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, CJ Van der Linde, John Smit (capt), Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw, Heinrich Brussow, Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar, Juan de Jongh.
Pat Lambie had his second starton fullback in the 2011 RWC but had a quiet game.
The media was not too impressed about the performance and these were some typical commentaries found in newspapers articles about the match:
Bryan Habana finally broke his 15-month try-scoring drought but South Africa will not be satisfied with their predictable pummelling of neighbouring minnows Namibia in their Rugby World Cup pool D match.
Over 26,000 vocal South African expats packed North Harbour Stadium to form an electric atmosphere and witness the 87-0 thumping. But the Mexican wave 10-minutes into the match was a sure sign the Boks weren't quite as entertaining as expected.
South African coach Peter de Villiers needs to demand much better than the erratic first-half effort from his near full-strength side if they are to knock over Samoa next week and progress to a likely quarterfinal against the Wallabies, or their chances of being the first team to defend the Webb Ellis Cup and claim three crowns are tenuous.
De Villiers would also do well to wake up after another poor showing from under-fire skipper John Smit. Bismarck du Plessis deserves his starting shot.
Outside of their juggernaut forward pack and powerful scrum, the Boks have weaknesses. They were exposed against Wales and problems were disguised in the romp over disappointing Fiji, but lowly Namibia showed in patches the defending champions are far from a formidable force.
The 'Beast' came on as a replacement late in the second half and had another storming game with his usual bullocking run.
The Boks led 31-0 at halftime and kicked on in the 56-point second-half for a dominant 12-try win. Some will say what more than your highest World Cup score can you achieve? But in reliving the first-half tape, South Africa will discover plenty of work-ons.
Habana, the 2007 World Cup player-of-the-year, scored his 39th test try to break the record held by halfback Joost van der Westhuizen, now sadly struggling with motor neuron disease.
In a sign of his declining prowess, Habana, once regarded as the world's best finisher, scored 30 tries in his first 36 tests but dotted down only eight times in the next 35.
Bryan Habana on his way to scoring his 39th test try after receiving a long skip pass from Danie Rossouw.
Positives for the world No 2 side were standout halfback Francois Hougaard. Kept on the bench by the exceptional Fourie du Preez, South Africa must find a place in the starting side for this excitement machine.
Hougaard plays on the wing for the Bulls and with blistering pace and vision this role should beckon for the national team. He is wasted on the bench.
Playing out of position to cover the injured Jean de Villiers, second five-eighth Frans Steyn again looked comfortable and confident inside classy centre Jaque Fourie. And Schalk Burger was a constant force.
Jaque Fourie was a steady influence in the backline and scored his usual try after a nice break and off-load by Frans Steyn.
The Boks displayed a willingness to attack and use the width but that game-plan is foreign to them and brought elementary errors.
Three poor lineout throws from Smit, fumbled passes and turnovers at the breakdown, put pay to at least four early scoring chances. The unbackable favourites were held scoreless for a 15-minute period after Gio Aplon's opening try.
Gio Aplon going over the line for the Springboks first try in this match.
Then, the slump was broken as Habana's moment arrived.
A cut-out ball put him in space, and for the first time in 15-months, the left wing stretched his legs all the way to the line. It must have been a sense of relief, more than joy, as the weight of expectation was lifted from his shoulders.
South Africa's pack dominated the each scrum and Namibia conceded their seventh penalty try in World Cups.
Second-half tries to Fourie, workaholic lock Danie Rossouw, one to each Steyn, a brace from replacement Juan de Jongh, Hougaard and Aplon, blew the score out as the Namibian defence tired.
First picture shows Morné Steyn scoring and the second one Frans Steyn.
But this was always going to be a one-way cake-walk. To put it in perspective, ambitious Namibia broke ties with South Africa and formed a republic in 1990. They have just over two million people, compared to South Africa's 50 million.
Nico Esterhuyse in the line-out.
Jacques Burger here getting tackled by Pierre Spies (in the first picture) tried hard as did Chysander Botha in the second picture but the South African defence was too fast and organised.
Namibia's national team plays in South Africa's secondary domestic competition and this year failed to win a game against a feeder provincial union.
South Africa 87 (G Aplon 2, F Hougaard 2, J de Jongh 2, B Habana, penalty try, J Fourie, F Steyn, M Steyn, D Rossouw tries; M. Steyn pen, 6 con, R Pienaar 5 con) Namibia 0. HT: 31-0.
Hougaard scored his second try right at the end of the match.