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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Springbok skipper leads rout
South Africa 72-6 Uruguay

South Africa 72
Tries: Van der Westhuizen (3), Van Niekerk, Botha (2), Delport, Fourie, Bands, Rossouw, Scholtz, Greeff
Cons: Koen (5), Hougaard
Uruguay 6
Pens: D Aguirre (2)

South Africa have stormed to a much-anticipated opening World Cup victory over Uruguay.

Joost van der Westhuizen led from the front in a 12-try rout.

The stand-in skipper scored a hat-trick and Bakkies Botha crossed for a brace, but the Springboks were far from convincing in a one-sided contest.

Coach Rudolf Straeuli will be aware that there is plenty to work on before next weekend's crucial pool match against England, most notably in the forwards.

South Africa showed their intent early against the amateurs in Perth and reaped the reward immediately.

With a kickable penalty on offer, Van der Westhuizen, who assumed the captaincy in the absence of Corne Krige, decided to go for the corner.

And the predatory scrum-half was on hand from the ensuing line-out to cross for a try in the opening minute.

We've still got a lot of work to do but now we're in the World Cup
Joost van der Westhuizen
The last time these two teams met at the 1999 World Cup the Springboks struggled to exert any authority in the opening hour and finished with 14 men.

Van der Westhuizen, the sole survivor from that encounter, was clearly keen to exorcise the memory and was on the scoresheet again on five minutes, cutting through Uruguay's paper thin defence.

But far from lying down and waiting for the scribes to write a rugby obituary on their efforts, the South Americans fought back.

And even if those efforts were not reflected on the scoreboard, they showed spirit, particularly in the forwards.

Mis-matches are par for the course in the early stages of a World Cup and while the underdogs chipped away with three pointers from Diego Aguirre at one end, they were conceding five-pointers at the other.

South Africa had sealed the bonus point as early as the half-hour mark as first Joe van Niekerk and then Botha punched holes through the thin blue line.

This is going to help to improve our rugby
Diego Aguirre
Thinus Delport and Jacques Fourie added further first-half scores, Fourie's arcing run from inside his own half the best of the match.

The Springboks made a slower start to the second-half than the first, but even after Richard Bands had crossed after a 10-minute scoring drought, they were unable to force open the floodgates.

Despite the gulf in fitness levels, the Uruguayan's conceded only five more tries from Danie Rossouw, Van der Westhuizen, Botha, Hendro Scholtz and Werner Greeff.

South Africa know that harder days lie in wait if they are to make an impression at this World Cup.

But Strauli will need to smooth out some rough edges in the tight five and hope that his backs cut down on their handling errors if they are successfully to bridge the gap in class between Uruguay and England.

For their part Uruguay will relish easier days, such as their outing against fellow minnows Georgia.

Uruguay: J Pastore, A Cardoso, D Aguirre (capt), M Mendaro, E Ibarra; S Aguirre, E Caffera; R Sanchez, D Lamelas, P Lemoine; J Alzueta, JC Bado; N Brignoni, M Guttierrez, R Capo.

Replacements: E Berruti, JA Perez, G Storace, N Grille, H Ponte, B Amarillo, JR Menchaca.

South Africa: W Greeff; A Willemse, J Fourie, DW Barry, T Delport; L Koen, J VD Westhuizen (capt), L Sephaka, D Coetzee, R Bands, B Botha, V Matfield; J van Niekerk, D Roussouw, J Smith.

Replacements: J Smit, F Rautenbach, S Boome, H Scholtz, N Kock, D Hougaard, R Loubscher.

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