Springboks settle old Italy score


South Africa set the record straight with a commanding 35-6 victory over Italy on Saturday.

The Springboks fell to a shock 20-18 loss against the same side a year ago, but gained revenge in Padova after overcoming a wobbly start to triumph in a five-try romp.

With the visitors having beaten France - the nation who pipped them to Rugby World Cup 2023 hosting rights - last time out, they ought to have had a spring in their step.

But Allister Coetzee's men were slow out of the blocks and fell behind before Francois Louw's try shifted the impetus and laid the platform for a convincing success.

Bongi Mbonambi marked his first start with a try, while Francois Venter, Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert also got in on the act.

The hosts, beaten by Argentina in their previous outing, looked strong initially and Carlo Canna kicked them into an early three-point lead.

Having been starved of possession for large parts of the opening exchanges, the Springboks made it count when they did get hands on the ball.

A concerted spell of pressure set up Louw for the opening try and Handre Pollard added the extras.

Italy kept at their task and cut the deficit when Canna again proved accurate from the tee, but their defence was found wanting when South Africa next pressed.

Coetzee's side kicked for touch, resisting the urge to go for the three points, and from the consequent line-out they plundered another try as Mbonambi crossed following a rolling maul. 

The contest was more or less settled before the break, with Venter touching down in the corner and Pollard extending the visitors' lead to 15 points with the boot.

Italy's misery only deepened after the interval, with Kitshoff's converted try and Mostert's first international score cementing South Africa's dominance in an otherwise uneventful 40 minutes.