Bafana’s World Cup hopes alive, while Italy get lashed in Durban
Bafana Bafana boosted their chances to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil by this victory over the Central African Republic (CAR) yesterday.
But group leaders Ethiopia’s 2-1 victory over Botswana in Lobatse meant that the gap between Ethiopia and South Africa stays at two points.
The east African country is on 10 points while the local boys have collected eight from an equal number of four matches.
Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala scored in the first half, and Katlego Mashego late in the match.
Bafana Bafana took the lead in the 25th minute through Parker, as their constant attacking paid off. Tshabalala’s through ball split the CAR defence and found Parker, who beat the keeper’s challenge and slid home into an empty net.
In the 41st minute Reneilwe Letsholonyane should have scored when he beat the offside trap after Tshabalala’s lobbed ball; but with only the keeper to beat, the midfielder casually back-heeled the ball into the keeper’s hands.
From that attack, Bafana Bafana recycled the ball and, with Tshabalala at the forefront of it again, he played a one-two with striker Tokelo Rantie and “Shabba” evaded a few CAR defenders before he placed the ball beyond the keeper to make it 2-0.
Three minutes into the second half, Parker could have grabbed a second goal for himself when he was cleverly picked out in the box by Tshabalala, but the striker saw his shot from six yards saved by the CAR keeper.
With only four minutes left to play in the match, Oupa Manyisa sidestepped his way on the left side before he sent in a high cross into the box which Mashego headed into an empty net.
May Mahlangu of South Africa (right) battles with Josue Kossingou of the Central African Republic during their 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying match at the Omnisport Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Bafana trounced their opponents 3-0. Picture:Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
The Springboks took a significant step towards winning the Castle Inbound Tour with their victory over Italy yesterday evening in Durban.
In the curtain-raiser, Scotland slumped to a first-ever defeat to Samoa (27-17).
On Saturday, the Boks face Scotland in their penultimate match at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga before the final round at Loftus Versfeld in a fortnight.
With the Springboks having gained a bonus point against Italy, the Samoans will have the inside lane in their curtain-raiser against Italy in a match that will decide which of them will meet the Springboks in the main game in Pretoria on June 22.
Last night, coach Heyneke Meyer declared himself well pleased with the Boks’ start to this year’s international season.
“We are blessed with the talent we have in this country,” said Meyer.
“When you consider that only six players who turned out in the last Test last year were on the field against Italy, it says a lot for our depth and the ability of the new players to make the step up.”
His new boys acquitted themselves well (although, sadly, scrumhalf Jano Vermaak suffered a long-term injury) but the spark came from some who have been in the club a long time – especially Bryan Habana.
South Africa’s record try-scorer Habana, a deservedMan of the Match, made the running for a superb try by JJ Engelbrecht early on, but his own try was a gem.
Morné Steyn has been a man transformed this season. He returned a 100% hit rate with four conversions and three penalties.
Youngsters such as Engelbrecht, Willie le Roux and Arno Botha revealed why Meyer has such a high regard for their potential.
Meyer said: “At 20-10, Italy were right back in the game, so to win 44-10 is a pretty good effort. We started the second half badly but that is part of Test match rugby … ”
Springbok JJ Engelbrecht goes over the line for his try during their opening game of the quadrangular series against Italy at Kings Park in Durban. The South Africans were rampant throughout the match, which ended with a scoreline of 44-10. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
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