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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK

South Africa top group

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

South Africa have sealed top spot in Pool B with a 19-12 victory in a full-blooded encounter against Wales.

Both teams had secured their qualification for the knock-out stages on Friday, but victory was imperative as the favourites, New Zealand, lay in wait for the losers.

In the pool's other match on the second day, Tonga beat Sri Lanka 47-12.

Reports:

Pool B
Team W D L ForAgstPts
South Africa 3 0 0 127 24 9
Wales 2 0 1 98 36 7
Tonga 1 0 2 69 69 5
Sri Lanka 0 0 3 19 79 3


South Africa 26-12 Tonga

South Africa absorbed the physical strength of the Tongans to record a valuable opening round victory.

Tongan captain Epi Taione crossed for the opening score, however, the try only succeeded in stinging the Springboks into action.

By half-time they were 14-5 down with George Muller bagging all his side's points.

By the time Tonga scored again in the final minute of the match, the win was beyond them.


Wales 55-7 Sri Lanka

Wales were too good for Sri Lanka in the last match of the opening round on Friday evening.

The Welsh over-ran their opponents from the off and the match was in effect a training routine that they will be hoping serves them in good stead for future challenges in the tournament.

Gareth Wyatt scored a hat-trick within four minutes of the whistle against and finished with four of his team's nine tries.

The only time Sri Lanka ventured into enemy territory they came away with a score in a match in which they were unsurprisingly outclassed.


South Africa 82-0 Sri Lanka

South Africa ran up the highest score of opening day in the penultimate match of the night.

Sri Lanka were swept aside by a Chester Williams-trained side that was a class apart.

The Springboks scored 12 tries, Conrad Jantjes and Luke Watson crossing for hat-tricks and Jean de Villiers, Eugene Francis and Fabian Juries braces each.

The pick was the last, with Juries dancing through a tight space before touching down by the posts.


Wales v Tonga

Wales put in a professional performance to seal their place in the last eight.

They dominated territory and possession in the first-half, changing ends 19 points up.

The Welsh, with Arwel Thomas and Robert Howley at their heart, maintained their focus after the break.

With victory assured the final match of the day petered out, with the sides sharing four tries between them in the second half.


Tonga 47-12 Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka showed no fear in one of the physical mis-matches of the tournament but were eventually over-run by Tonga.

Danushka Rajamanthri scored two early tries, converting one, to give Sri Lanka an unexpected 12-10 lead.

However, a late first-half brace of his own from Tongan captain Epi Taione turned the tide and stopped Sri Lanka's spirited show.

John Alofi scored two in a one-sided second half that saw an example of the disparity in size between the two teams when Keni Fisilau clattered into Panawannage Fernando.

The Tongan was sent to the sin-bin for his troubles, but Sri Lanka were unable to score a consolation try despite the man advantage.


South Africa 19-12 Wales

South Africa and Wales gave the crowd a taste of what they can expect in the knock-out stages with a bruising final match of the pool section.

Both teams had already qualified for the last eight, but in the knowledge that the loser would have to play New Zealand, victory was a must.

And at half-time, holding a 12-7 lead, it looked as if Wales could pull off a shock following tries from Jason Forster and Gareth Thomas.

But after the interval the Springboks stepped up a gear to book a meeting against Canada.

First-half try-scorer Jean de Villiers showed his pace in releasing Fabian Juries, who converted for a two-point lead, before Conrad Jantjes scored late on with a chip and charge to give South Africa a cushion in victory.

"We had one or two chances that we let slip," Welsh captain Jason Forster admitted.

"They didn't and they go through tothe easier draw on paper and we have to play the might of the All Blacks."


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