Defending champions South Africa scored seven tries and moved a step closer to the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals with a bruising 49-18 victory over impressive Tonga in their Pool B clash on Sunday.

Many of the 60,387 in the crowd were rooting for the Pacific Islanders, but while Tonga put on a brave showing, South Africa fed off their errors and had too much guile and experience.

The Boks scored tries through Cobus Reinach, Canan Moodie, Jessie Kriel, Deon Fourie, Willie le Roux, Marco van Staden and Kwagga Smith, but put in an error-strewn display, in part forced by the physicality of the Tongans.