Padova - South Africa scored five tries to tame Italy 35-6 in
terrible conditions in Padua on Saturday, avenging last year's historic defeat
by the Azzurri.
Eben Etzebeth's side produced a powerful forward performance
against a weak Italian side who only managed two penalties under the rain in
Francois Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Francois Venter, Steven
Kitshoff and Franco Mostert all touched down for the Springboks, with man of
the match Handre Pollard converting four tries and replacement Elton Jantjies
adding the fifth conversion.
"They were too strong for us, above all
physically," conceded Italy coach Conor O'Shea. "Their forwards are
on another level. Our first 20 minutes were good and I remain confident but
South Africa are better."
The win will be a welcome relief for under-pressure South
Africa coach Allister Coetzee who has rebuilt his side since last November's
20-18 defeat with just five players from that dark day in Florence playing this
It gives the Springboks a boost heading to Wales next
weekend after edging France 18-17 in Paris last week following a 38-3 mauling
by Ireland in Dublin on November 11.
Coetzee's side proved solid despite the testing conditions,
building on a comfortable 21-6 lead at the break, with Warrick Gelant coming on
for his Test debut in the final 20 minutes.
Sergio Parisse and his Italy teammates had challenged in the
first ten minutes with fly-half Carlo Canna putting the hosts on the scoreboard
But after a strong period of attack South Africa touched
down two tries from Louw and Mbonambi, with Italy suffering faced with the
visitors' superior strength.
Pollard's return to kicking form proved well-timed as he
provided a key link with the Springboks backline.
Canna missed a chance for a third penalty in slippery
conditions just before the break, but despite possession for long periods Italy
never looked like scoring.
South Africa controlled play with their powerful scrumming
and mauling performance for their biggest win in Italy since 1997.
It is the second straight defeat for Italy after losing
31-15 to Argentina in Florence last weekend.
The Italians had ended a series of nine consecutive losses
going back to their win over South Africa by winning their opening November
Test against Fiji 19-10 in Sicily.
"It's a pity we couldn't build on our good start to the
match," said captain Parisse.
"Defeat is difficult but these three weeks were very
positive for the future.
"A group has been built, we're working well, I remain
confident. But the results speak for themselves and we can't be satisfied with
a defeat like today."
Penalties: Carlo Canna (2)
Tries: Francois Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Francois Venter, Steven Kitshoff, Franco Mostert
Conversions: Handre Pollard (4), Elton Jantjies
15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Giovanni Licata, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Substitutes: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Francesco Minto, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian Mckinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant