South Africa outplay disappointing Italy

South Africa comfortably beat Italy 55-11 at Buffalo City Stadium Saturday in South Africa’s last match of the June International series.

Springboks flyhalf Morne Steyn scored two of the Springboks’ seven tries and with his kicking a total of 26 points to the winners’ total.

The match was close to the perfect dress rehearsal for the Tri-Nations tournament that starts on July 10 against New Zealand in Auckland. South Africa are the defending champions.

There were still some patches of loose play in their game that they wanted to eradicate, but considering the rather average opposition and a very good start to the game for the Boks that saw them run up a quick lead, they could perhaps be forgiven for at times relenting on their aim to keep it tight.

Their forwards drove well; the Boks competed well on the ground and tactically played it sound.

The score was 10-3 to the Springboks after 11 minutes. Morne Steyn had scored all the points, and the early odds were against Italy to repeat last week’s 16-points loss.

It was wave after wave of Springbok attack, and Italy – with nine changes of which six were in the scrum after last weekend’s good performance -were under the cosh from the outset.

Two well-taken penalties by the visitors’ Mirco Bergamasco saw them only 10-6 behind after 20 minutes, but Steyn’s second try, followed by a penalty by the flyhalf and Pierre Spies’ try after good work from lock Andries Bekker saw the Boks go into halftime 27-6 ahead – and full value for that score after a solid performance.

Steyn, with two tries, three conversions and two penalties, had by then accumulated 22 points.

His first try came after hesitancy when Italy pressured on defence but left a gap in their defence lines, and the second after a good ruck ball by the Boks forwards and a timeous pass by Bryan Habana.

Italy came close to shrinking the gap after an elementary tackle on Sergio Parisse was missed by Habana shortly after the restart, and for the first ten minutes of the second half Italy were in command.

However, the Boks, through a good ruck and a penalty that wasn’t aimed at the posts went back on to attack, and after a series of rucks Jannie du Plessis went over for his first Test try.

Some six minutes later Habana got the perfect pop pass from Steyn to score his 38th try, which equaled Joost van der Westhuizen’s record of 38 Test tries for the Springboks. Again Steyn was on target.

Coach Peter de Villiers had decided to give his replacements a decent run, and lock Flip van der Merwe responded by scoring his first try in only his second Test after seeing barely six minutes of action against France two weeks ago before he was yellow-carded on debut.

Replacement flyhalf Ruan Pienaar, who had taken over the kicking duties, added the two points to make it 48-6.

Final Score South Africa 55 (27) Italy 11 (6)


South Africa
Tries – Steyn 2, Spies, du Plessis, Habana, van der Merwe, BJ Botha
Pen – Steyn 2
Con – Steyn 5, Pienaar 2
Drop –

Tries – Sepe
Pen – Mi Bergamasco 2
Con –
Drop –

Referee: Keith Brown (NZL)

South Africa Gio Aplon; Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ricky Januarie; Pierre Spies, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, John Smit (capt), Gurthro Steenkamp

Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, BJ Botha, Flip van der Merwe, Dewald Potgieter, Ruan Pienaar, Butch James, Wynand Oliver

Italy Luke McLean; Michele Sepe, Gonzalo Canale, Andrea Masi, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Simon Picone; Sergio Parisse (capt), Paul Derbyshire, Manoa Vosawai, Marco Bortolami, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Lorenzo Cittadini, Fabio Ongaro

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