Rugby World Cup 2003
South Africa power into quarter-finals
Graham Jenkins reports from Brisbane
November 1, 2003
Influential Springbok fly-half Derick Hougaard dives in to score
© Getty Images
South Africa flyhalf Derick Hougaard was the star of the show as they powered into the World Cup quarter finals with a 60-10 demolition of Samoa in their decisive clash at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
The 20-year old grabbed a try, four conversions, a penalty and drop goal before being replaced just after the hour as the Springboks swept a weary Samoa side away with a eight try onslaught.
Rudolf Straeuli's side came flying out the blocks from the start and caught their South Sea Island opponents napping twice in the opening moments before flanker Joe van Niekerk scampered away into space to cross for the first five pointer.
A break up the short side from veteran scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen cut the Samoan defence wide open and the ball was recycled to van Niekerk who claimed the easiest of scores. Hougaard added the conversion to set the tone for the half.
Samoa threatened to bounce straight back when Earl Va'a slotted a penalty minutes later but it was already eveidnet that the bruising clash with England had taken a lot out of this side. South Africa's forwards dominated the early exchanges and it was a big scrum that set the field position from which Hougaard slotted over a drop goal.
The pressure on the Samoan defence soon told again when a sustained attack saw Jorrie Muller force his way through for the second try of the game after only 12 minutes. Hougaard again was spot on with the conversion.
Samoa showed a brief glimpse of the exciting running play that won them so many plaudits last week when Peter Poulos surged into the Springbok half but the move ended with the Samoans being bundled into touch in the corner.
A sign of Hougaard's confidence, and perhaps a game plan, saw him attempt another drop goal midway through the half but this time he was off target. However, Hougaard further put his stamp on this game on the half hour when he pounced on a handling error from Samoa to hack the ball on inside the 22 and fall on the ball ahead of Samoan skipper Semo Sititi to notch the try. Although considered a dubious score by sfans and pundits alike video refereeJoel Dume gave the score the green light. Another conversion from Hougaard stretched the lead to 24-3.
Samoa rallied towards the end of the half but the pumped up Boks were in no mood to give anything away and it was in fact South Africa who troubled the scorer next. The forwards once again did the damage before Juan Smit took the final pass to crash over. Another Hougaard conversion put his side safely in control.
Samoa rallied after the break forcing the Boks to scrambl ein defence on more than one occasion and they threatened to make a gam eof it when Opeta Palepoi crashed over in the corner after some good work from Setiti. Va'a once again added the extras but that was as close as his side got.
Despite some good bouts of pressure, most notably following a strong break from Mauri Fa'asavalu the Bok defence was up to the task, but a word from referee Chris White to skipper Corne Krige meant they were treading a fine line.
A Hougaard penalty stretched the advantage shortly after before we were witnesses to perhaps the biggest hit so far in RWC'03 when Brian Lima crashed into Hougaard with the force of a train.
Luckily the plucky Bok flyhalf got to his feet after a few minutes. The Boks persisted with their drop goal attempts but were unsuccessful but it may be worth All Blacks coach John Mitchell noting.
The Boks ended the game as a contest with a breakaway try from Ashwin Willemse that Hougaard stepped up to convert. And tries from Fourie, Westhuysen and de Kock, two of which were converted by Louis Koen, in the last ten minutes rounded the scoring off at 60-10.
Sadly a spectator saw fit to try and spoil the occasion by attempting to tackle Koen with his last conversion but we can happily report he came off worst, stretchered from the field as both teams joined together in prayer in a true symbol of this tournament.
For Samoa it is a short trip home but the All Blacks await South Africa next weekend.
South Africa: 31 Tries: Van Niekerk, Muller, Hougaard, Juan Smit, Willemse, Fourie, Westhuysen, de Kock Con: Hougaard (4), Koen (2) Drop Goal: Hougaard
Samoa: 10 Try: Palepoi Con: Va'a Pen: Va'a