Bordeaux — South Africa captain Bongi Mbonambi said on Sunday the world champions kept things “simple” as they thrashed Romania 76-0 in their Rugby World Cup Pool B match in Bordeaux.
Scrum-half Cobus Reinach and winger Makazole Mapimpi both scored three tries apiece.
“We just kept it simple, we stick to our plan, we kept it tight,” the hooker said.
“All respect to Romania. They’re tough in contact, full of pride and we knew it was going to be difficult,” he added.
Mbonambi replaced Malcolm Marx in the starting lineup with the abrasive hooker ruled out for the rest of the competition with a knee issue.
South Africa run rampant in Bordeaux 🔥#RWC2023 | #RSAvROU pic.twitter.com/tXY8mzhiyn
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 17, 2023
On Saturday, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said fly-half Handre Pollard was among the candidates to replace Marx, alongside front rower Joseph Dweba.
Manie Libbok is the only specialist stand-off in the squad with full-back Damian Willemse having played an hour in the No. 10 shirt against Romania, but missed two from seven conversions.
“The decision on the replacement will happen tonight,” South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber said.
“We didn’t want to discuss it.
“We’ll have a look at things from a fitness point of view then decide about who we will call up,” Nienaber added.
ALSO READ | Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx out of World Cup with knee injury
Mbonambi led his country for the first time in a World Cup, taking over for the game from emblematic skipper Siya Kolisi.
“It’s a milestone in my career but it’s never about one person in this team – we’re all doing it for the Springbok jersey.”
Prop Vincent Koch withdrew from the game after suffering a knee injury in the warm-up.
“Unfortunately he hobbled in the warm-up,” Nienaber said.
“I have no idea how bad it is,” he added.
It was just the second time that Romania, ranked 17th in the world, had played South Africa.
Their major annual tournament is the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship and the gap between that and the top tier has been brutally exposed in ‘The Oaks’ first two pool matches.
Watch what Jacques Nienaber and Bongi Mbonambi had to say after last night’s win over Romania – click here: https://t.co/XLCkjqSK79 🎤#Springboks #StrongerTogether #RWC2023 pic.twitter.com/EugYMYYk3W
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 18, 2023
They suffered an 82-8 drubbing at the hands of world ranked number one Ireland also in Bordeaux a week ago.
“Of course we need to play at a higher level,” their head coach Eugen Apjok said.
“It makes a difference. All the tier 2 nations need more games each year because it’s crucial to be prepared for such games,” he added.
Next up for Nienaber’s side is Six Nations Grand Slam holders Ireland in Paris on Saturday, a tie which could decide who tops the pool.
The two qualifiers from the group are likely to face in the quarter-finals in-form hosts France and three-time winners New Zealand.
“We couldn’t think about Ireland because it was disrespectful to Romania,” Nienaber said.
“We’re only at the halfway point of the group.
“Destiny will decide who we will play in the quarter-final,” he added.
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