Rugby World Cup: Happy Habana breaks record in Boks rout

By Patrick McKendry

South Africa's winger Bryan Habana scores to set a South Africa try-scoring record with his 39th try. Photo / Brett Phibbs
South Africa's winger Bryan Habana scores to set a South Africa try-scoring record with his 39th try. Photo / Brett Phibbs

South Africa 87
Namibia 0

Bryan Habana is likely to have been the happiest South African at North Harbour Stadium tonight after his side's 87-0 victory over Namibia.

There were a few of them at the ground too. Out of a crowd of 26,839 at a packed stadium, the vast majority wore green and gold and were there to roar their team on to a lop-sided victory over their African cousins.

But it was Habana who was perhaps the most satisfied after he finally broke his try-scoring drought in tests and in doing so hit the 39-try mark, the highest in South Africa rugby.

His try took him clear of Joost van der Westhuizen, who he shared the record with going into the game.

But it was the first record that would have preyed on his mind given that he hadn't scored a try since June 26 2010, and that was against Italy at East London in South Africa.

If you wear flashy flourescent orange boots and play on the wing there is an expectation that you score the odd try or two, and he got across the line after 23 minutes tonight.

It wasn't if South Africa would win, it was by how much and when they would score the first of their many tries.

For the record, the first of their 12 came in the seventh through little wing Gio Aplon, who was the beneficiary of a nice offload and he skipped down the right touchline to score.

Tries to Habana, Jaque Fourie and a penalty try followed in the first half and the floodgates opened in the second.

Morne Steyn and Ruan Pienaar were others in the record books. Neither missed a kick all night and both equalled Springboks World Cup records in kicking six conversions each.

Namibia, involved in the past three World Cups but yet to record a win, could count their best moments in the match on the fingers of one hand.

Skipper Jacques Burger, the Windhoek-born Saracens flanker, threw himself about, and blindside flanker Tinus Du Plessis went on a good run in the first half, but too often their teammates resembled pinballs, banging around against immovable objects in green and gold.

The Namibians threw the ball around, but at the back of their mind would have been limiting the damage and avoiding their worst ever World Cup defeat - 142-0 against Australia in 2003.

Halfback Francois Hougaard was outstanding for South Africa, he was lively throughout and efficient too but it was hard to judge the rest of the Boks due to the paucity of the opposition.

TMO Graham Hughes of England may have taken pity on them too, denying two Springbok try appeals.

South Africa 87 (Gio Aplon 2, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Juan De Jongh 2, Francois Hougaard 2, Danie Roussow, penalty, tries; Morne Steyne 6 con, pen, Ruan Pienaar 6 con)
Namibia 0 HT: 31-0

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