Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool B: South Africa 49-18 Tonga

Andre Esterhuizen of South Africa runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Pita Ahki of Tonga
Andre Esterhuizen of South Africa runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Pita Ahki of Tonga
©Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

South Africa 49-18 Tonga, Pool B, Stade de Marseille

South Africa are on the verge of confirming their quarter-final berth as they defeated Tonga 49-18 in their Pool B Rugby World Cup encounter in Marseille on Sunday.

The Boks now have 15 points from their four games as they go past Ireland to the top of Pool B table while Tonga are without a point after playing three matches. The game between Scotland and Ireland next will decide the quarter-finalists from the group though the Boks will be fancying their chances following the bonus point victory.

Tonga came into the tournament with a high expectation but now have suffered heavy defeats against Scotland, Ireland and now South Africa.

William Havili started the proceedings with a third minute penalty goal for Tonga before South Africa bounced back as Cobus Reinach tapped up a quick penalty and went into the corner unopposed. Handre Pollard, who was brought into the squad after recovering from a calf injury kicked the conversion to make it 7-3.

The Boks doubled their tally when the ball bounced off the shoulder of prop Vincent Koch which was collected by Canan Moodie as he dived under the posts before Deon Fourie scored their third try at the back of a maul. Pollard got the conversion right for the third time in the game as South Africa extended their lead to 21-3.

Tonga had some momentum heading into the break as skipper Ben Tameifuna crashed over from close range but Havili's conversion drifted wide as the teams completed the opening half with a 21-8 scoreline.

South Africa had an early setback in the second half with Vincent Koch leaving the field with a Head Injury Assessment but they managed to secure the bonus point shortly as Pollard set up Jesse Kriel over the line. Pollard continued his perfect kicking record to extend South Africa's lead to 20 points. There was a sigh of relief for South Africa as Eben Etzebeth escaped a yellow card after a TMO referral for a clash on Tonga full-back Salesi Piutau.

As Fine Inisi and Willie La Roux traded tries, South Africa had a lead of 35-13 with the final quarter underway before Le Roux's quick pass allowed Marco van Staden to complete their sixth try. Manie Libbok kicked his second conversion as Jacques Nienaber's men extended their lead to 42-13.

As the final 10 minutes kicked-off, Patrick Pellegrini collected his own kick to dot down Tonga's third try before Kwagga Smith touched down under the posts for the Boks to complete a 31-point victory.

Points Table: Pool B

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 South Africa 4 3 1 15
2 Ireland 3 3 0 14
3 Scotland 3 2 1 10
4 Tonga 3 0 3 0
5 Romania 3 0 3 0

Team line up:

South Africa XV: Le Roux; Williams, Moodie, Esterhuizen, Mapimpi; Pollard, Reinach; Nche, Fourie, Koch, Etzebeth, Orie; Kolisi (c), Vermeulen, Wiese

Reserves: Van Staden, Kitshoff, Nyakane, Mostert, Smith, Hendrikse, Libbok, Kriel.

Tonga XV: Piutau; Inisi, Fekitoa, Ahki, Tuitavuki; Havili, Pulu; Fisi’ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna (c), Fifita, Lousi; Halaifonua, Talitui, Paea

Reserves: Moli, Koloamatangi, Apikotoa, Coleman, Vailanu, Takulua, Pellegrini, Taumoepeau.