No upset here: Springboks beat RWC’s lowest-ranked team 57-3


TOYOTA, Japan — South Africa restored some order at the Rugby World Cup by putting away Namibia 57-3 on Saturday.

The Springboks’ second-string lineup was still a different level against the World Cup’s lowest-ranked team in a Pool B game that was only a side story to Japan’s shock win over Ireland hours earlier. That threw the tournament on its head and put Japan in ecstasy.

South Africa scored nine tries, five in the first half and four in the second. Hooker Bongi Mbonambi and winger Makazole Mapimpi had a pair each.

Namibia has never won a Rugby World Cup game and the gulf between the teams was clear — and big — despite them being southern African neighbors. Namibia also had players sin-binned in each half to make it much harder for itself.

Mbonambi got both his tries from rolling mauls. Flanker Francois Louw also got one from the back of a maul and the Springboks were going at a point-a-minute at one time in the first half. Winger Makazole Mapimpi and center Lukhanyo Am also crossed in the first 40.

After a rapid start, the South Africans were sloppy for a 10-minute period, though, before Am scored right at the end of the half to right that.

Flyhalf Cliven Loubser kicked a first-half penalty for Namibia’s only points.

The Springboks procession continued after the break. Mapimpi got his second and fullback Warrick Gelant, the attacking spark for the Springboks from the back of the field, got a try too.

Regular skipper Siya Kolisi came off the bench to dive over on the right wing with almost his first touch and stand-in captain Schalk Brits also scored and broke out into a big smile.

The game made Brits the second-oldest Springbok to play at a World Cup and the second-oldest man to captain the Boks at rugby’s marquee event.

Despite the blowout, it was the smallest winning margin ever for the Springboks over Namibia, which was on the wrong end of the heaviest loss in Rugby World Cup history. Namibia lost 142-0 to Australia in 2003 for the tournament record.

World Rugby postponing July test matches

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World Rugby has postponed July test matches involving southern and northern hemisphere nations because of ongoing restrictions on international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The sport’s international governing body issued a statement Friday saying the mid-year test window will be rescheduled when cross-border travel and quarantine regulations are relaxed.

New Zealand had been scheduled to play Wales and Scotland, Australia was set to play Ireland and Fiji and South Africa had planned to host Scotland and Georgia. World Rugby said the postponement is due “to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.”

Bill Beaumont re-elected as World Rugby chairman

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Former England captain Bill Beaumont has been re-elected as World Rugby chairman on Saturday after beating Agustín Pichot, the current vice-chairman.

The sport’s governing body says the 68-year-old Beaumont achieved a first-round majority of 28 votes to 23.

Beaumont says: “I am honored to accept the mandate of the World Rugby Council to serve as the international federation’s chairman once again.”

He begins his four-year term after a council meeting on May 12.

French rugby federation president Bernard Laporte becomes Beaumont’s new vice-chairman.