Rugby-South Africa close on quarter-finals with Tonga win

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool B - South Africa v Tonga - Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France - October 1, 2023 South Africa's Willie Le Roux scores their fifth try REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - South Africa were firmly on track for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals as they ran in seven tries to knock Tonga out with a 49-18 victory in their last Pool B game on Sunday.

Cobus Reinach, Canan Moodie, Deon Fourie, Jesse Kriel, Willie Le Roux, Marco van Staden and Kwagga Smith went over the line and Handre Pollard (4) and Manie Libbok (3) converted to put the defending champions top of their group on 15 points.

It was, however, the first time since the 2015 World Cup that the Springboks conceded three tries in a match as Ben Tameifuna, Fine Inisi and Patrick Pellegrini touched down in a fierce performance by Tonga.

South Africa will go through if Scotland fail to beat Ireland, who overcame the Springboks in the first game of the group and have 14 points, with a bonus point.

(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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