South Africa 64 USA 0: Heyneke Meyer paid tribute to Bryan Habana after the wing equalled the Rugby World Cup try-scoring record as his South Africa side confirmed their quarter-final spot with a comprehensive 10-try victory over USA.
Habana scored a 19-minute hat-trick to equal Jonah Lomu’s record of 15 World Cup tries before bombing a simple chance to move clear of the All Black legend.
“I am so proud of Bryan, as a player and human,” said Meyer.
South Africa toiled against a USA team that made 12 changes to rest their key players for Sunday’s more winnable game against Japan.
South Africa’s first try was neatly taken when Damian de Allende tore through a huge gap, before their superiority at the scrum was rewarded with a penalty try.
In a growing theme of the tournament the Tier One side continued to get the decisions from the officials. There were two possible yellow cards that went unpunished, while less than a minute after the break Habana scooted through onto Fourie du Preez’s grubber to score.
The replays suggested he was offside but the TMO, George Ayoub, awarded it.
The bonus-point was secured when Bismarck du Plessis went over from close range, and after Francois Louw followed him it became the Habana show.
His seconds try owed much to a slicing run from de Allende and his hat-trick came when he picked up a loose ball from close range.
That equalled Lomu’s record and history was there to be made when he latched on to another grubber, only to allow the ball to slip through his hands.
The winger sunk his head into the turf and was a picture of frustration, screaming for the ball on the wing despite further tries from Louw and Jesse Kriel.
There was an element of farce to proceedings by now, though, with fellow winger Lwavi Mvovo grabbing the tenth try despite a clear knock-on that TMO Ayoub somehow awarded.
Tries: de Allende, Penalty, Habana 3, B. du Plessis, Louw 2, Kriel, Mvovo. Cons: Pollard 4, Steyn 3. South Africa: le Roux, Habana, Kriel, de Allende, Mvovo, Pollard, du Preez, Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, Malherbe, Etzebeth, de Jager, Louw, Burger, Vermeulen.
Serfontein for de Allende (60), Steyn for Pollard (56), Paige for du Preez (63), Nyakane for Mtawarira (56), Brits for B. du Plessis (56), du Toit for de Jager (63), Alberts for Burger (48).
Scully, Thompson, Niua, A. Suniula, Test, S. Suniula, Kruger, Kilifi, Thiel, Baumann, Stanfill, Trouville, Barrett, Quill, Manoa.
Wyles for Scully (70), Moeakiola for Kilifi (58), Taufetee for Thiel (72), Fenoglio for Trouville (70), McFarland for Barrett (57), Dolan for Manoa (48).
Pascal Gauzere (France).
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