South Africa's Cobus Reinach scores fastest Rugby World Cup hat-trick to set up big win over Canada
Springboks secure place in quarter-finals with 66-7 win in Kobe
Cobus Reinach scored the fastest Rugby World Cup hat-trick to set South Africa on their way to a huge 66-7 win over Canada at Kobe Misaki Stadium.
The Springboks ran in 10 tries, including seven in a first-half that featured scrum-half Reinach's 11-minute treble.
That was quicker than Australia full-back Chris Latham's 25-minute hat-trick in a 142-0 thrashing of Namibia at Adelaide during the 2003 World Cup.
Damian De Allende, Sibusiso Nkosi, Warrick Gelant and Francois Steyn also score in a one-sided first half with Canada's Josh Larsen sent off for a dangerous tackle at a ruck.
South Africa were unable to maintain the same pace in the second half, and the short-handed Canadians scored a deserved try through flanker Matt Heaton in the 46th minute.
The Springboks still had very much the better of the contest, though, and four tries after the departure of Larsen sent them through to the knockout stages with three wins in four Pool B matches and a spring in their step – with hosts Japan now looming as possible opponents.
"It was scrappy in stages but I can't moan about 10 tries," said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. "Obviously, they got a red card that made it a little bit easier for us. So overall, not too bad."
Bok skipper Siya Kolisi was more upbeat. It feels really good, especially after that performance," he said. "I'm really proud of the boys, especially in the first half. In the second half we got a bit looser, but the main thing is the boys had a lot of fun."
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.
Faced with a lone defender, Reinach chipped the ball ahead and collected his own kick for one of the great individual scores of the tournament so far.
Canada were at times their own worst enemy and went a man down on 36 minutes when Larsen showed too much enthusiasm at a ruck and his shoulder connected with the neck of Bok prop Thomas du Toit.
But to their credit, they came out looking much more assured in the second half despite their numerical disadvantage, and after a succession of penalties won, some poor defence from Elton Jantjies allowed Heaton to score his first international try.
It should have been his second after he had dropped the ball over the tryline in Canada’s defeat to Italy earlier in the competition.
Canada, who have appeared in every World Cup, have one more chance for a win at this edition when they face fellow minnows Namibia in Kamaishi on Sunday, a game captain Tyler Ardron described as "hugely important."
"It's a game we've really targeted. We want to put our best performance out and we really want to get a result out of that," said Ardron.
"[it was] very tough [against South Africa], we couldn't even get our hands on the ball for that first 30 minutes or so, and when they had it they did some damage. But I felt we grew into the game, and in that last 50 we put in a better performance.
"It's never helpful to get a red card. I think we would have rather had the 15 out, there but we pulled together."
Updated: October 8, 2019 04:55 PM