Kobe - South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the fastest hat-trick in Rugby World Cup history as the Springboks all but assured themselves of a place in the quarter-finals with a 66-7 hammering of Canada on Tuesday.

The Springboks ran in 10 tries, including seven in a first-half that featured scrumhalf Reinach's 11-minute treble.

That was quicker than Australia fullback Chris Latham's 25-minute hat-trick in a 142-0 thrashing of Namibia in Adelaide during the 2003 World Cup. 

Reinach's hat-trick spanned the 10th-21st minutes.

It started with a superb solo effort, the scrumhalf breaking from a ruck inside his own 22, chipping over the last defender and regathering before sprinting clear. 

RG Snyman and fellow lock Franco Mostert then combined to send in Reinach, capitalising on some weak tackling, for the bonus-point score.

And with Canada reeling, Reinach had his third try.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies's cross-kick was pulled down by Warrick Gelant, the wing finding centre Damian de Allende who in turn released the onrushing Reinach.

South Africa led 47-0 at the break against an outclassed Canada who had to play more than half the match a man down after replacement lock Josh Larsen was sent off.

But Canada, just six days on from a 63-0 loss to reigning champions New Zealand, avoided a whitewash thanks to flanker Matt Heaton's try.

This bonus-point victory should see two-time world champions South Africa into the last eight after an opening Pool B defeat by the All Blacks, with hosts Japan - who stunned the Springboks 34-32 at the 2015 World Cup in England - now looming as possible opponents.

Canada, who've appeared in every World Cup, have one more chance for a win at this edition when they face fellow minnows Namibia in Kamaishi on Sunday.