Springboks hold off Samoa to eliminate pacific island nation
South Africa have ended Samoa's Rugby World Cup campaign after a hard-fought 13-5 win in their Group D clash on Friday.
The Springboks crossed once, through Bryan Habana, on the way to a 13-0 lead after 27 minutes at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
But Samoa, fighting with Wales for second spot in the pool, fought hard and had the better of the second half with George Stowers scoring a 51st-minute try.
Despite their hard work, Samoa failed to find any more points as Paul Williams was sent off in the 70th minute and South Africa's John Smit was sin-binned for the last 10 minutes.
Samoa may be going home but they left their impression on the tournament, if not the South Africans.
Not many half-backs have been able to say they have outplayed South African ace Fourie du Preez, but Kahn Foutuali'i did just that after an outstanding display that proved the perfect complement between the bruising power of his forwards and the dynamism of his backline.
South Africa started well, however, using the set piece to their advantage, initially through the lineout maul.
It was such a tactic that saw wing Habana open the scoring in the eighth minute.
Samoa did themselves no favours with ill-discipline, Morne Steyn kicking a goal from a penalty to take the lead to 13-0.
Equally, South Africa were lucky a short punch from prop Jannie du Plessis did not receive more than a penalty.
Having held the Springboks at half-time, Samoa must have entertained thoughts of using the breeze to advantage.
George Stowers was a constant thorn for the South African defences, crossing in the 51st minute.
Tusi Pisi, a constant danger with ball in hand, missed the conversion for Samoa but Springboks fly-half Morne Steyn also missed a chance moments later.
In the 66th minute, Samoa were back on attack with another strong surge that was inspired by Lemi but in his desperation to get the ball over the line hooker Mahonri Schwalger lost the ball.
Samoa suffered a body blow when Williams was sent from the field for punching Heinrich Brussouw.
Brussouw was trying to free himself from Williams' grip but the Samoan's 66th-minute retaliation was foolish under the circumstances.
However, replacement hooker Smit was sin-binned after only two minutes on the field for kicking the ball away after a deliberate knockdown had been awarded against him.