Giants keep up their unbeaten records

SANDWICHED: South Africa's JP Pietersen escapes tackles of Tonga's Finau Maka, left, Sione Tu'Ipulotu, right, in the Rugby World Cup Group A match on Saturday. The Boks won 30-25. Pic. Julien Behal. 22/09/07. © AP.
SANDWICHED: South Africa's JP Pietersen escapes tackles of Tonga's Finau Maka, left, Sione Tu'Ipulotu, right, in the Rugby World Cup Group A match on Saturday. The Boks won 30-25. Pic. Julien Behal. 22/09/07. © AP.

PARIS - New Zealand, Australia and South Africa may not have been at their destructive best but all three southern hemisphere giants have kept up their unbeaten World Cup records.

PARIS - New Zealand, Australia and South Africa may not have been at their destructive best but all three southern hemisphere giants have kept up their unbeaten World Cup records.

The All Blacks, the overwhelming favourites to end a 20-year wait for a second world title, ran in six tries in a 40-0 romp over a second-string Scotland side on Sunday.

They wrapped up Pool C and will meet the runner-up from Pool D - either Argentina, France or Ireland - for a semifinal spot. Australia made sure of top spot in Pool B with a 55-12 win over Fiji and await either defending champions England or Tonga in the last eight.

Little Tonga pushed South Africa, and scored three tries, before they were edged out 30-25 in a pulsating clash in Lens on Saturday.

The Springboks, who opted to field their B-team, made sure of top spot in Pool A and they will face either Wales or Fiji for a place in the semifinals.

At Murrayfield, Doug Howlett became the leading try-scorer in All Blacks history as New Zealand strolled into the quarterfinals.

The 29-year-old wing claimed two of his team's six tries, taking his personal tally for his country to 48, two more than the previous record he had briefly shared with Christian Cullen.

It was a far from vintage performance from New Zealand, whose finishing lacked the cut-throat edge they had displayed in their previous wins over Italy and Portugal.

Scotland will be back at full strength when they face Italy in their final group match on Saturday in St Etienne, a match that will decide which of them joins the All Blacks in the last eight. - Sapa-AFP

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