JOHANNESBURG - South Africa once again rotated their squad for their final pool stage match at the Rugby World Cup against Canada on Tuesday knowing that a bonus point would almost certainly secure a place in the last eight for the Springboks.
The only two players to retain their places from the win over Italy were captain Siya Kolisi and centre Damian de Allende as Rassie Erasmus no doubt had one eye on the quarterfinals.
Damian Willemse, Thomas du Toit and Cobus Reinach were all handed their first starts at the tournament.
Going into the match, South Africa had won both the teams' previous two encounters with an aggregate score of 71-10.
The Springboks got off to a flying start as Damian de Allende coasted over the line inside the opening two minutes after a brilliant line break from RG Snyman set up the South African attack.
Two minutes later and Sbu Nkosi was over in the corner as the Canadian defence was sliced open again after some good handling from Kwagga Smith to set the winger on his way.
The rest of the first half belonged to Cobus Reinach who scored a hat-trick inside 10 minutes.
The first of which was by far the best of the half. A brilliant individual effort saw the scrumhalf break from inside his own half before sprinting up-field, chipping the covering defender and collecting to round off a superb piece of play.
His second came moments later after making a typical sniping dart from the ruck as South Africa were bearing down on the try line again.
He rounded off a fantastic spell when Elton Jantjies' cross-kick was gathered by Warrick Gelant, who sprinted up-field where Reinach was on hand for another try.
Gelant went from provider to scorer, showing some quick feet close to the line to evade a couple of Canadian defenders and dot down in the corner.
Things went from bad to worse for the Canadians as Josh Larsen was shown a straight red for a shoulder charge on Thomas du Toit.
Frans Steyn capped off a dominant first half for the Boks, intercepting a pass as Canada tried to play out from inside their own 22 metre line.
Elton Jantjies was also on song from the kicking tee, converting 6 of South Africa’s 7 tries to give the Boks a 47-0 lead heading into the break.
Canada started the second half with purpose and were rewarded with a try of their own as Matt Heaton crashed over the line after some decent attacking play.
Peter Nelson added the extra 2 points.
There was a period of scrappy play from both sides shortly after that score but South Africa crossed the line for their eighth try of the game in the 55th minute.
Veteran Schalk Brits showed the fleetness of foot that a winger would have been proud of and some good old fashioned forward strength to bundle over the line. South Africa had a 54-7 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Damian Willemse also got in on the act, coasting over the line after some quick hands from the backline put the World Cup debutant in acres of space for an easy score.
Jantjies was once again successful with the conversion as the Boks continued to score almost at will.
Frans Malherbe bashed his way over the line for South Africa’s 10th try of the match.
Rassie Erasmus, though, will probably be a little disappointed at the second-half performance with his side not looking as clinical as they maybe should have been with a man advantage.
The Springboks, though, will be happy with their performance in the match as they prepared for the knockout stages with an emphatic 66-7 victory.
This article first appeared on EWN : Boks qualify for quarterfinals with runaway Canada victory