Springboks overpower Samoa in eight-try rout
South Africa completely subdued a 14-man Samoa by scoring eight tries and attacking with pace and power to win 56-23 in the final of the four-nation tournament today.
The Springboks ran in half their tries after Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi was red-carded for a dangerous tackle in the 57th minute at Loftus Versfeld to maintain their unbeaten record against the Samoans.
Samoa's broken field play was expected to test South Africa, but the Springboks had probably already done enough by halftime with a 23-point lead, even if the victory came at a bruising cost against the typically hard-hitting Pacific Islanders.
"I honestly don't know how I got through that game," Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said. "It was physical out there."
Bryan Habana scored two tries to go to 50 in test matches, and five of South Africa's scores came from slick backline moves as Samoa wasn't allowed to play its own rapid, counterattacking game. The key, South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said, was how South Africa's forwards matched Samoa's muscle.
Flanker Francois Louw also scored twice for South Africa, and center JJ Engelbrecht, wing Bjorn Basson, flyhalf Morne Steyn and replacement prop Trevor Nyakane went over for the others.
Samoa had two tries in the second half through Filo Paulo and Junior Poluleuligaga but didn't match South Africa in the set-piece and despite pulling it back to 32-16 when Paulo barged over early in the second, fell away after Tuilagi was shown a straight red card for a throat-high tackle on De Villiers.
Nyakane rumbled over a minute from fulltime to take the Springboks past 50 points and give them three wins from three in the four-team tournament. Habana also brought up 50, speeding away for two tries to go level with England's Rory Underwood and tie for fifth in rugby's all-time list of test tryscorers.
"It's been an unbelievable ride," the winger said, "hopefully I just keep on improving."
Habana scored his and South Africa's first in the 18th minute from a Willie le Roux pass and flanker Louw anchored a rolling maul that rumbled over for his score in the 26th.
Engelbrecht stepped between two defenders and beat a third on the outside in the 34th and Basson went in at the opposite right corner just before halftime off another well-timed pass by fullback Le Roux.
Samoa had just three James So'oialo penalties in the first half, but found momentum straight away in the second as lock Paulo ultimately scored after a succession of drives off rucks by the forwards.
But Samoa's potential comeback was halted by Tuilagi's red card for his dangerous hit on De Villiers, and the islanders' desperation to find a way back into the match threatened to boil over as they were penalized for foul play and put in some borderline illegal tackles.
"I think it came down to frustration," Samoa coach Stephen Betham said. "They were frustrated. But it's no excuse. It's something we've worked hard on to eliminate from our game."
Soon after Tuilagi departed, Habana slipped in for his second to go to 50 tries, and South Africa hammered home its dominance when flyhalf Steyn cruised over after throwing a big dummy in the 63rd.
Poluleuligaga's score came from a clever Samoa lineout move that saw the replacement take a throw down the middle and score untouched.
But South Africa shrugged that off to cross twice more, with Louw reaching the line after a close-in drive for his second and Nyakane getting his first test try right at the end when Louw had been stopped just short of a hat-trick score.
South Africa 56 (Bryan Habana (2), Francois Louw (2), JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Trevor Nyakane tries; Steyn 2 pen, 3 con, Pat Lambie 2 con) Samoa 23 (Filo Paulo, Junior Poluleuligaga tries; James So'oialo 3 pen, con, Paul Williams con. HT: 32-9