South Africa and Australia Win at the Rugby World Cup. Waiting Game Next

AP Photo/Daniel Cole
South Africa’s Willie Le Roux scores a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Tonga at the Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, in Marseille, France Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — South Africa secured a bonus-point 49-18 win over Tonga and a successful return to action for flyhalf Handre Pollard at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday in Marseille.

The Springboks scored seven tries in their final pool game and Pollard converted the first four for a 100% night with the boot in his first test in more than a year before he left after 50 minutes.

Manie Libbok came on for Pollard and kicked three from three conversions to ensure that, apart from the crucial victory, the defending champion also went some way to putting right the goal-kicking problems that were evident in a 13-8 defeat to Ireland in its last outing.

First-choice flyhalf Libbok came under pressure for his wayward kicking against the Irish and Pollard’s promising return from injury will give the Springboks options if they progress to the knockouts.

That’s not yet guaranteed, though.

The result took South Africa to the top of Pool B but only by a point ahead of Ireland’s showdown with Scotland in the final set of pool games next weekend, which will decide which two go through to the quarterfinals.

An Ireland victory will send the Irish and the South Africans through. A Scotland victory could make it complicated and it might come down to points difference.

AP Photo/Daniel Cole
South Africa’s players form a huddle at the end of Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Tonga at the Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, in Marseille, France Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.


Australia smothered a ferocious comeback by Portugal to win their gripping first matchup in Saint-Etienne.

The bonus-point victory kept alive the Wallabies’ faint quarterfinal hopes. Their final Pool C match moved them into second place and the second quarterfinal spot, and they will have to stay in France for another week, without another game guaranteed, to wait to see if Fiji overtakes them.

Fiji is one point behind and needs to take only one point against Portugal next Sunday in Toulouse to advance and send Australia home.

Portugal couldn’t put Australia out of its misery but it warmed the hearts in a packed Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with its daring and style.

Os Lobos scored two tries and had two others disallowed. Crucially, when Australia was reduced to 14 and 13 men around an hour in, the Portuguese couldn’t finish numerous lineout maul chances in a dominant 20-minute period that kept Wallabies coach Eddie Jones on his feet in the stands.

The turning point was in the 15th minute when Portugal center and first try-scorer Pedro Bettencourt was yellow-carded. Australia with the man advantage was ruthless, scoring three converted tries in six minutes. The Wallabies rushed from 7-3 down to 24-7 ahead.

AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
Australia’s Fraser McReight scores a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Portugal at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne, France, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.