Reinach is the son the late former South African athletics star and Springbok wing Jaco Reinach (pictured below, photo by Wessel Oosthuizen), and he took only 11 minutes to dot down three tries in a blitzkrieg first half display by the dominant South Africans.
The 29-year-old Reinach, who plays his club rugby for Northampton Saints in England, scored three tries inside the first quarter against Canada – in the ninth, 17th and 20th minutes – to record the earliest hat-trick in Rugby World Cup history.
Afterwards, Reinach was asked if he was thinking of his father, a former SA record holder in the 400m who tragically died in a motor vehicle accident when the Bok scrumhalf was only six years old, as he was speeding down the field chasing down his own chip kick for that first try.
“Not really,” said Reinach, “I was just thinking that I had to get my heart rate down and trying to catch my breath.”
Referring to the Springboks’ approach for match, the scrumhalf said: “We went into the game with a mind-set of playing (our game) how we want to play going forward. So I think we delivered that quite well in the first half.
“With their red card, I think we let it slip a bit with some dropped balls, although the opportunities were there for us.”
For his first try, Reinach displayed exceptional acceleration and top speed to gather his chip kick and score in the left corner.
“In training it happened once or twice when I tried the outside, but it didn’t work, so I tried the chip kick instead,” he explained.
When asked about his late father’s speed exploits on the track and rugby field, he said: “I saw a few clips of that, yes, and its wonderful memories. But that wasn’t on my mind at all, I just wanted to get the ball, get to the tryline, and then get back to catch my breath!”
Although he is not a regular starter for the Springboks, Reinach said it is expected of him and any other player to slot in immediately and deliver a good performance.
“I think it is the way we train: we train as one, to be accurate and to simulate game situations and that is why we can make changes, and it seems like the boat is going at the same speed or even faster. I just focused on what I had to do and the tries came as a bonus,” said Reinach.
Cobus Reinach's hat-trick in the first 20 minutes of #RSAvCAN is the earliest ever in Rugby World Cup history.— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 8, 2019
Previous earliest was Chris Latham who bagged a hat-trick in 25 mins against Namibia at Rugby World Cup 2003. #RWC2019 #RWCKobe pic.twitter.com/QwXn3rnHad
SA Rugby’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus referred to Reinach’s’ X-factor abilities as a “chip off the old block” as the bearded Springbok halfback scored his first-half hat-trick against Canada.
“Everybody knows he has X-factor and I knew his dad well,” said Erasmus.
“He’s got exceptional speed and good anticipation, although he hasn’t had a lot of game time with us since I’ve been coach.”
Erasmus was also pleased to announce a clean bill of health for his squad following their fourth and final Pool B match.
The Springboks will now enjoy two much-deserved days off before resuming training on Friday. Several squad members will however attend two activations on Thursday – a visit to a local elementary school in Kobe, as well as a visit to the local headquarters of technical sponsors ASICS.