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Pietersen hat-trick gets Springboks back on track with bonus point win over Samoa

The ‘Boks are back after running in six against Samoa.

South Africa 46

Samoa 6

THE STRAIN WAS written all over the face of veterans Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers and most of all on head coach Heyneke Meyer. But South Africa did manage to put the humiliating defeat to Japan behind them with a bruising win over Samoa in Villa Park.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Samoa - Villa Park Source: PA Wire/PA Images

A hat-trick from JP Pietersen book-ended scores from Schalks Burger and Brits to give a convincing look the scoreboard in a game that threatened to be a stern examination of Springbok resolve.

Meyer’s men issued statements of intent with early Garryowens, powerful rucking and accurate mauling from deep in their own half. However, their most important score of the first 40 minutes against the hard-hitting Samoans came through an error as out-half Mike Stanley had a looping pass off his left hand picked off by Pieterson.

Britain Rugby WCup South Africa Samoa Source: Martin Cleaver

At that point, Stanley had kicked two penalties to edge the Pacific Islanders in to a lead, but Pietersen’s 15th minute run gave the ‘Boks some much welcomed breathing space.

Handre Pollard was unable to convert the try, but split the posts with four penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking enough to slow Heyneke Meyer’s heart-rate.

Stanley attempted to narrow the 17 – 6 half-time deficit with an enormous 64 metre penalty before the break. It was off target and lacking distance. Unfortunately his long-range kicks would become a subplot in a second half in which Samoa only managed to spark in to life for one attack. Cruelly, after a thrilling break from Tim Nanai Williams, the 62nd minute Tusi Pisi touchdown was called back for a short-range short pass from the Chiefs star.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Samoa - Villa Park Source: PA Wire/PA Images

South Africa continued according to the gameplan, and the skill of their back-line helped them turn their minds from Japan to a possible bonus point seven minutes after the break. South Africa looked to go wide from left to right after setting up on the five metre line. There were enough blue jerseys in theory to deal with the danger, but excellent quick-passing from Willie Le Roux and Jean de Villier meant there was no time for covering defenders to reach Pietersen before he touched down in the right corner.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Samoa - Villa Park Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Schalk Burger barged over for a 58th minute try and the ‘Boks claimed a bonus point when Schalk Brits touched down on the back of a 71st minute maul. However, it wasn’t until Habana romped home with a 50 metre run that he and South African rugby as a whole, could truly get back to breathing normally.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Samoa - Villa Park Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The win puts South Africa very much back on course in their Rugby World Cup quest. They top Pool B with seven points, two points ahead of Scotland who they face in St James’ Park next Saturday.

Scorers

South Africa

Tries: JP Pietersen (2), S Burger, S Brits, B Habana

Conversions: H Pollard, P Lambie

Penalties: H Pollard (4)

Samoa

Penalties: M Stanley (2)

South Africa

15. Willie le Roux
14. JP Pietersen
13. Jean de Villiers (captain)
12. Damian De Allende
11. Bryan Habana
10. Handré Pollard
9. Fourie du Preez

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Adriaan Strauss
3. Jannie du Plessis
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Victor Matfield
6. Francois Louw
7. Schalk Burger
8. Duane Vermeulen

Replacements:

16. Schalk Brits
17. Trevor Nyakane
18. Frans Malherbe
19. Lood de Jager
20. Siya Kolisi
21. Ruan Pienaar
22. Pat Lambie
23. Jesse Kriel

Samoa

15. Tim Nanai-Williams
14. Ken Pisi
13. Paul Perez
12. Rey Lee-Lo
11. Alesana Tuilagi
10. Mike Stanley
9. Kahn Fotuali’i

1. Sakaria Taulafo
2. Motu Matu’u
3. Anthony Perenise
4. Teofilo Paulo
5. Iosefa Tekori
6. TJ Ioane
7. Jack Lam
8. Ofisa Treviranus (captain)

Replacements:

16. Ole Avei
17. Viliamu Afatia
18. Census Johnston
19. Faifili Levave
20. Vavae Tuilagi
21. Vavao Afemai
22. Tusi Pisi
23. George Pisi

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