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50 second-half points saw the Springboks beat the United States 64-0 Wednesday at Olympic Park in London. The USA kept the game competitive the first 40 minutes, conceding just two scores to the heavily favored Springboks, but the floodgates opened after intermission.
The USA’s best chances to get on the board were missed penalty kicks by Folau Niua in the third minute and Niku Kruger in the 15th, but they went unconverted. The penalty count piled up against the USA the second 40 minutes, aiding the lopsided loss.
The result is the largest loss of the 2015 World Cup so far, the USA’s largest World Cup loss ever, its worst-ever defeat at the hands of South Africa and the fifth largest loss ever against any opponent. The 64-0 decision also marks the first time the Eagles have been shut out since 1987 and only the third time in history.
The Springboks, up 14-0 at the break, wasted no time in the second half. The Eagles were turned over in their own end after getting to the breakdown a little late, and the Boks scored seconds later when Bryan Habana sprinted onto a grubber and ran into the try zone untouched. Converted, the score saw South Africa’s lead grow to 21-0 in the second minute of the half.
After an offside penalty gave the Springboks an attacking five-meter scrum, their forwards bashed over a fourth try through Bismarck du Plessis in the 46th minute. The conversion attempt was missed.
Set pieces would provide scores in the 53rd and 60th minutes, as well. The former came from a penalty and lineout-maul, and the latter from a smoothly executed lineout play following an American clearance kick – Habana finished the move with a slide into pay dirt.
In the 62nd minute Habana secured a hat-trick after gathering a ball ripped from an attacking South African maul and carrying it across the line. Morne Steyn converted, pushing the lead to 47-0. The try saw Habana tie Jonah Lomu’s record for most all-time World Cup tires.
South Africa mauled over another score in the 70th minute, and Steyn converted to extend the difference to 52-0. Two more scores, including one in the 84th minute following several American phases, saw South Africa notch its 10th try of the match. Steyn’s conversion made it 64-0.
South Africa has now clinched the top seed out of Pool B with a 3-1 record. The United States still have Japan Sunday. Depending on the result of the Scotland-Samoa match Saturday, the Brave Blossoms will either be playing for a spot in the quarterfinals or to retain third-place and automatic qualification to the 2019 World Cup.