South Africa power past Italy
June 8, 2013
Try time for South Africa's JJ Englebrecht at Kings Park in Durban
© Getty Images
South Africa claimed a 44-10 victory over Italy at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Scotland were given a stark warning about how far they will have to raise their game if they are not to be whitewashed in their four-team tournament as the Springboks were made to hang on for victory by a buoyant and passionate Italy side.
The Springboks had a racing start to thank for their win, with tries in the first quarter by Adriaan Strauss and JJ Engelbrecht. With Morne Steyn adding both conversions and a couple of penalties, South Africa seemed to be romping home, but instead of buckling, Italy shrugged off these early setbacks and got on with trying to claw their way back into the game.
They stifled the home side for the remainder of the half to keep them at 20-0, then, after the break, took up where they left off and pummelled the Springbok line until a wonder between-the-legs pass from captain and number eight Sergio Parisse put centre Alberto Sgarbi over the whitewash.
A conversion and penalty from fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo got them back into the game until Steyn pulled his side clear with his third penalty and Bryan Habana grabbed a spectacular solo try to settle home nerves.
That ended the spirited Italian fightback and Engelbrecht should have had another score before Jean De Villiers scored his team's fourth try, with Bjorn Basson then rounding off the scoring with an interception breakaway.
While South Africa, Scotland's next opponents, were impressively ruthless, Italy, now Scotland's likely opponents the following week, will also take heart from he second and third quarters where they dominated the game with more than 90 per cent of the possession.
South Africa's Eben Etzebeth attracts the attention of the Italy defence © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports