Springboks maintain momentum
PA Sport
October 1, 2007

South Africa coach Jake White believes his side's display in the 64-15 World Cup win over the United States is an encouraging sign for the tournament's knockout stages.

The unbeaten Springboks ran in nine tries against the Eagles in Montpellier - Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie grabbing doubles and Schalk Burger, Francois Steyn, Van der Linde, Fourie du Preez and Juan Smith also getting in on the act.

They play Fiji next in the quarter-finals, and White reckons his men may be hitting form just at the right time.

``We are very pleased,'' he said.

``What we wanted to accomplish was to get some structure and continuity to our game.

``Some of the tries we scored were very pleasing. I don't think the US are as weak as the scoreline suggests.

``The most important thing was that we put things together on a game day. We haven't been executing them that well so far, but I was happy with the way we kept the ball alive.''

The one negative to come out of the game was the injury suffered by prop BJ Botha.

The Sharks star damaged knee ligaments in the first half, and White fears the player's tournament could be over.

Habana also went off injured - blood was seen pouring down the winger's face after a clash of heads with Takudzwa Ngwenya - but the prognosis on him was much better.

``Bryan is fine - he just had some stitches,'' said White.

``BJ, I think, will be ruled out - he has done something to his knee ligaments.

``We will decide who will come in tomorrow. I'm not quite sure yet.''

The Springboks finish with a flawless four-from-four record in the pool stages.

The Eagles, meanwhile, return home winless - and with the group's wooden spoon - but they will have made many friends with their spirited displays in this World Cup.

They managed tries through Ngwenya and Chris Wyles here, with Mike Hercus booting a penalty and a conversion.

Ngwenya's was a beauty, the Zimbabwe-born flyer outpacing Habana down the right flank to score a sensational try which received warm applause from the Stade de la Mosson crowd.

He also scored a superb solo effort in the Eagles' 25-21 defeat to Samoa in midweek, and captain Hercus was quick to sing his praises.

``I guess the rugby world considers Bryan the fastest guy around, but Takudzwa put his hand up here,'' said the former Sale fly-half.

``We've seen what he can do in training; he's so fast. He's born to do that. I was just happy to get the ball to him.''

Ngwenya later revealed he had received offers from English clubs as a result of his impressive showings in the tournament.

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