South Africa secured their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with an emphatic 66-7 victory over 14-man Canada in Kobe.
Canada, who conceded 48 points to Italy and 63 to New Zealand in their opening matches, again found the going tough in Pool B as they shipped 10 tries to the dominant Springboks.
Northampton’s Cobus Reinach helped himself to a hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes while influential fly-half Elton Jantjies kicked his way to 16 points.
Canada, who trailed 47-0 at the break, also had to play more than half the game with a man less after Josh Larsen was sent off for a shoulder charge into the head of Thomas Du Toit.
South Africa made 13 changes for the game but there was no problem with their cohesion as they raced in front with a try after just two minutes.
Damien De Allende, one of only two players retained in the starting line-up, profited from a break by RG Snyman to touch down and within three minutes S’busiso Nikosi went over in the corner for the second.
Reniach claimed his first after nine minutes as he gathered his own kick to cross and grabbed another following more powerful running by Snyman. He then sprinted half the length of the field to claim his third and South Africa scored again when Warrick Gelant weaved his way through the Canucks defence.
Canada’s night got even worse when Larsen was sent off before the break following a foul play review by the TMO and they were breached again when Frans Steyn crashed over from close range.
The Springboks made a slow start to the second half and Canada registered a consolation when Jeff Hassler drove to the line and Matt Heaton forced his way over.
Normal service was soon resumed, however, as veteran hooker Schalk Brits claimed a well-worked try and Damian Willemse – only recently drafted into the squad as an injury replacement – went over from a scrum.
Frans Malherbe powered through the defence for South Africa’s 10th try eight minutes from time.
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Joey Carbery has declared himself finally fully fit and ready to repay Ireland’s faith for taking him to the World Cup when carrying an ankle injury.
The Munster fly-half revealed training fully and without impediment on Tuesday was a “huge confidence boost” ahead of Saturday’s Pool A decider against Samoa in Fukuoka.
Carbery almost missed the World Cup with the ankle ligament injury he suffered in August’s victory over Italy in Dublin, but was backed by boss Joe Schmidt to shake off that blow while out in Japan.
The 23-year-old came off the bench in the 19-12 loss to the host nation but then aggravated his ankle issue and was a late withdrawal from the bonus-point win over Russia.
But now the former Leinster playmaker insists he is ready to strike back to top form, admitting it is time to pay back Ireland’s coaches for bringing him to the World Cup in the first place.
“Hopefully I’m 100 per cent now, it has been quite a frustrating year with injuries,” said Carbery.
“But I’m fully back now and feel back to myself as I was. So that’s a huge confidence boost for me and I suppose I can just get back out there and do what I’ve been doing.
“I suppose with the timing of the injury just before we left for Japan, and the nature of it as well, it was always going to be a bit of a frustration.
“But to be honest I was lucky enough even to be considered and that I did enough to get on the plane.
“The coaches showed a lot of faith in me and I’m very grateful for it.
“I want to repay that faith now. I want to go out and do the job and show them that they weren’t wrong; that’s definitely in the back of my mind.”
Regular fly-half Carbery was due to cover scrum-half from the bench for the Russia clash, but pulled out late on due to a minor recurrence of that ankle concern.
Ireland subdued the Russians 35-0 in Kobe to set up a group decider against Samoa, where another bonus-point victory will secure their qualification for the quarter-finals.
Carbery explained his latest ankle niggle was never anything serious, but enough of a problem to prove an unwanted distraction.
“I had a little bit of a setback last week which was frustrating,” he said.
“But I’m feeling really good this week, it was nothing major last week, so I’m in a good spot.
“The ankle just took a bang, nothing more than that. That just made the joint all sticky, there was nothing serious at all it just needed a couple of days to settle down.
“So it was obviously annoying to miss out on game time but thankfully it was nothing serious.”
Carbery kicked the ball to touch to signal the end of last month’s shock 19-12 loss to Japan in Shizuoka.
The New Zealand-born playmaker still believes he made the right decision in opting to protect Ireland’s losing bonus point, which could yet prove crucial in the qualification race for the quarter-finals.
“I knew we had the bonus-point secured and there wasn’t too much on for us, so at the time I thought the best thing would be to kick it out,” said Carbery.
“And yes, I think that was the right call. I didn’t want to do anything silly as well: maybe they could have got the ball back and taken the bonus-point away from us.”
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Billy Vunipola appears increasing unlikely to play any part in England’s final World Cup group game against France.
Vunipola injured his left ankle in Saturday’s bonus-point victory over Argentina and after repeatedly receiving treatment on the pitch, was withdrawn at half-time and has undergone a scan.
While refusing to rule him out of the climax to Pool C against France, attack coach Scott Wisemantel revealed that the Saracens number eight has been doing recovery and rehabilitation work instead of training with the rest of Eddie Jones’ squad.
Having already qualified for the quarter-finals, England are able to make a number of changes knowing Saturday’s clash at International Stadium Yokohama decides only who finishes top of Pool C.
Vunipola, the team’s most potent forward ball carrier, is the only player to have started all 12 of this year’s Tests and his value to Jones means his fitness will not be gambled on.
“We’re being overly cautious. If there’s any risk he will not be 100 per cent he won’t play, but I don’t know the outcome of the scan. If there’s any risk, we won’t risk him,” Wisemantel said.
Tom Curry slotted in at number eight when Vunipola limped off against France, but Mark Wilson is favourite to fill the void before the knockout phase begins against Wales or Australia.
“We still have a luxury of carriers. Billy has been terrific for us, but he missed the autumn recently and Mark Wilson was the player of that series,” scrum-half Ben Youngs said.
“Billy does suck in lots of defenders and he’s a great carrier for us, but those other guys carry the ball differently because of the lines they pick. They are a bit more subtle about where they pop up.
“We’re blessed with some of the back rows that we have got, but we’re very confident they’ll carry us on to the front foot.”
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