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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
South Africa 59-7 Samoa
By James Standley

Wing Bryan Habana scored four tries for South Africa
Flying wing Habana scored four tries for South Africa
South Africa (21) 59
Tries: Habana 4, Montgomery 2, Fourie, Pietersen
Cons: Montgomery 5
Pens: Montgomery 3

Samoa (7) 7
Tries: Williams
Cons: Williams

South Africa survived a brutal first-half battering by Samoa as they opened their World Cup campaign with an impressive victory in Paris.

The Springboks took a 9-0 lead before Samoa scored the first try of the match through Gavin Williams.

Bryan Habana and Percy Montgomery tries gave the Boks a 21-7 half-time lead.

And further tries from Jaque Fourie, Montgomery, Habana - who claimed a second-half hat-trick - and JP Pietersen wrapped up a fine win.

With two of the most physical teams on the planet taking the field at the Parc des Princes the match always promised to be a bash-fest and so it proved as they combined to put on a thrilling opening 40 minutes.

Man for man the Samoans could match their Springbok counterparts for power but in the tight phases of the game, the scrum and the line-out, the Springboks had a clear edge.

606: DEBATE

And it meant that, once they had weathered a ferocious opening half from the Samoans, the Springboks had control of the game.

The fired-up Samoans gave it a lash from the first whistle.

Former Leicester number eight Henry Tuilagi produced some ferocious charges, but poor discipline allowed Montgomery to make them pay with three penalties in the opening 15 minutes.

South Africa lock Bakkies Botha gets to grips with Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi
The opening 40 minutes was the most physical so far in France

The Pacific islanders' inability to secure their own ball at the line-out was costing them dear but when they finally managed some decent possession they opened the scoring with a superb try.

Quick ball off the top was spun wide to inside centre Jerry Meafou and the timing of his pass sprung Williams through the South Africa midfield.

The Connacht centre outpaced the cover to score under the posts and he added the conversion to make it 9-7 to the Boks.

The quicker the pace of the game, the more dangerous Samoa looked, but the quickest man on the pitch was South Africa flyer Habana and his first real contribution to the game saw the Boks stretch clear.

You could see a lot of nerves from both sides early on the way they finished it off in the second half is a huge positive

South Africa coach Jake White

When he took Fourie's pass as the Boks attacked down the blind-side of a ruck there looked to be little on.

But the electric Blue Bulls winger carved infield before breaking free of a tackle and scything through the remaining defence for a superb solo try.

Montgomery missed the fairly simple conversion but South Africa were soon back on the attack and after a series of attacking scrums Montgomery blasted through the final defender for the Springboks' second try.

The veteran full-back added the conversion to make it 21-7 at the break but Samoa came desperately close to cutting the gap when Iosefa Fekori plunged over straight after the restart, only to be pulled back for offside.

Brian Lima
Lima is the first player to appear in five World Cups but was injured after producing a dangerous tackle

Springboks centre Jean de Villiers was helped off the field with an arm injury and was replaced by Francois Steyn.

Coach Jake White later suggested the 26-year-old was a major doubt for the match against England on Friday, and possibly the whole tournament.

If Samoa's try had been awarded, they might still have been in with a shout but within little more than 10 minutes South Africa had cut loose with a quickfire try treble.

Fourie cut back against the grain to burst through the midfield and open his account for the tournament before Montgomery finished off a sweeping passing move to cross out wide.

Habana then collected his second spectacular long-range score of the match, beating three men on a dazzling run to the line, and two Montgomery conversions meant South Africa suddenly led 40-7 after an hour's play.

The burst of scoring knocked the stuffing out of the Samoans and the pride they would have taken in the sight of 35-year-old Brian Lima coming on as a replacement would soon have evaporated.

When he took the field Lima became the first man to play in five World Cups, but he soon got a high tackle horribly wrong, conceding a penalty in the process, and was helped groggily from the field.

As the game went on South Africa were happy not to pick up any injuries, while Habana confirmed his status as the world's most dangerous finisher with two more tries.

Montgomery converted the first effort and the Springboks will head into Friday's encounter with faltering world champions England brim full of confidence.


  • South Africa coach Jake White:

    "You could see a lot of nerves out there from both sides early on but all credit to our boys.

    "The way they finished it off in the second half is a huge positive for us going forward in the competition."

  • Samoa coach Michael Jones on the decision to disallow a try early in the second half:

    "It seemed everything went against us and that try would have lifted us.

    "We are that type of team, we need to have our tails up and if we had scored then I think it could have been a totally different story.

    "I'm not saying we would've won but we wouldn't have conceded so many points."


    South Africa: Montgomery; Pietersen, Fourie, De Villiers, Habana; James, Du Preez; Du Randt, Smit, Van der Linde, Bakkies Botha, Matfield, Burger, Smith, Rossouw.
    Replacements: Du Plessis, BJ Botha, Muller, Van den Berg, Januarie, Pretorius, Steyn.

    Samoa: Lemi; Faatau, Williams, Meafou, A Tuilaga; Sapolu Fuimaono, Poluleuligaga; H Tuilagi, Setiti (capt), Leo; Thompson, Fekori, Johnston, Schwalger, Va'a.
    Replacments: Fuga, Lealamanua, Vaeluaga, Purdie, Sevealii, Crichton, Lima.


    SEE ALSO
    South Africa RWC team guide
    03 Sep 07 |  Team guides
    Samoa RWC team guide
    03 Sep 07 |  Team guides


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