South Africa taking nothing for granted after overpowering Namibia

Japan's victory over Ireland ensures Springboks will be focused for Pool B 'decider' against Italy, says coach Erasmus.

TOYOTA, 28 Sep - Nine tries and 57 points later, South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus will be a relieved man after Saturday's straightforward victory over Namibia.

After Uruguay stunned Fiji and Japan produced a famous giantkilling act over Ireland, the Springboks would have been wary of taking the Welwitschias lightly at the City of Toyota Stadium.

But another Rugby World Cup 2019 shock was never on the cards, South Africa's task made easier by Namibia coach Phil Davies resting most of his first-choice players with an eye on the game against Canada. Two of their back-ups were shown yellow cards.

South Africa imposed themselves physically early on. Player of the Match Lood de Jager was dominant in the lineout and Namibia had no answer to the rolling maul. Francois Louw and and Bongi Mbonambi both went over from drives, and the hooker scored another try, before Makazole Mapimpi, pictured on the attack, secured the bonus point in the 26th minute after a set move, also from a lineout.

Further tries in the second half from Lukhanyo Am, Mapimpi again, Warrick Gelant, Siya Kolisi and Schalk Brits completed a comfortable victory.

"It was awful looking at the table and seeing us on zero... so that's a positive," said coach Rassie Erasmus. "But by no means are we thinking 'well done' – we are realistic about where we are, and what we still have to do."

Namibia coach Phil Davies was pleased with the application shown by his team.

“The scoreline suggests we are improving," said the Welshman. "We played with a lot of courage. I was disappointed when we turned the ball over that we kicked the ball away quite quickly. I would have liked to see us play a bit more."

For Erasmus, one of the biggest positives would have have been the performance of Warrick Gelant.

The Bulls full-back made things happen whenever he had the ball. With first-choice No.15 Willie le Roux not at his most influential in the 23-13 defeat by the All Blacks, Gelant's performance gives the coach options.

"Warrick was elusive, and he scored a try and made one or two tries. There were one or two opportunities early in the game where he could've put guys away, but you can put that down to rustiness and not really playing in the last couple of months.

"I guess whenever we do get an injury, Warrick would be the guy I would back every single time."

The Springboks' next match in Pool B is against Italy on Friday in Shizuoka, and after Japan's victory over Ireland, Erasmus will be taking nothing for granted.

"A week ago, I said if we manage to beat Italy, and Ireland manage to beat Japan, then we might meet Ireland, but both of us have to get past those hurdles," he said.

"Now Ireland didn't, and we still have to play Italy. I always knew that Japan were a realistic contender for the quarter-finals.

"If they manage to beat Scotland, they can be on top of the pool, and if we manage to beat Italy, then that's (South Africa against Japan) a realistic option. And also a bit of a scary option!"

RNS am/bo/lm/bo