Cape Town - A strong second half performance by Italy saw the Springbok
Women suffer a disappointing 35-10 defeat in wet and muddy conditions in
Prato on Sunday in the closing Test on their four-match European Tour.
Italy outscored Stanley Raubenheimer’s charges by five tries
to one, with their strong forward play and patience on attack in the familiar
conditions steering them to victory. Italian wing Sofia Stefan was in fine
form as she contributed a brace, with a try in each half.
In stark contrast to the hosts, the Springbok Women battled
to gain momentum due to errors at crucial times and ill-discipline, however,
they did well to force Italy into making errors close to the tryline in the
The Springbok Women showed their intent from the outset with
centre Zintle Mpupha touching down for the first points of the match five
minutes into the game as she booted the ball up-field from an Italian error and
dashed after it to score. Her midfield partner Demi Nel slotted over the
conversion, and the team took a 7-0 lead.
Stefan scored Italy’s first try 10 minutes later after the
Springbok Women knocked on the ball, and they backed this up with two penalty
goals by Michela Sillari to take an 11-7 lead.
The visitors were dealt a big blow shortly after as Nel received
a yellow card for infringing at a ruck. Italy fought until the halftime hooter
and their efforts paid off with Elisa Giordano touching down to hand them a
16-7 half-time lead.
The Springbok Women again scored the first points after play
resumed compliments of a penalty goal by Nel, but this proved to be their last
points of the match.
The hosts, in turn, continued to use their strong forwards
to apply pressure and their efforts paid off as Stefan scored her second try
out wide. They were awarded a penalty try minutes later and Ilaria Arrighetti
added their fifth try of the match with six minutes left on the clock.
Despite trailing 35-10, the Springbok Women refused to give
up fighting and they tried hard to score again in the dying minutes, but their
efforts were unsuccessful. The team will embark on their journey back to South
Africa on Monday.
Tries: Sofia Stefan (2), Elisa Giordano,
Ilaria Arrighetti, Penalty try
Conversion: Michela Sillari
Penalties: Sillari (2)
Try: Zintle Mpupha