Boks bully and batter Italy

Boks bully and batter Italy

A dominant performance from the Springboks saw them demolish Italy 49-3 in their third pool match of the Rugby World Cup.

boks italy Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

What was billed to be a massive forward clash ended up being a one-sided affair as the South African pack bullied and battered the Italians which saw the match go to uncontested scrums.

A red card for Italy at the beginning of the second half made matters worse and the overlap allowed the Springboks to run away with the result. 

The end score gives South Africa some breathing room as a match against Canada next Tuesday is the only hurdle standing in the way of South Africa making the quarterfinals of the competition. 

Scrum dominance by Boks 

It didn’t take long for the first eagerly-awaited scrum of the game. Both packs looked solid on the engage but the front rows went down as the ball was cleared from the base.

 Play continued until a handling error but tighthead prop Simone Ferrari stayed down after the first scrum. The tighthead then hobbled off the park with what looked like a hamstring injury. 

The Springboks had the feed to the resulting scrum which ended up in a penalty for the South African’s. Flyhalf Handre Pollard kicked for the corner and the Springboks launched an attack from the lineout.

 South African built a number of phases as they attacked the Italian tryline. A wide move found right-wing Cheslin Kolbe in space and the Sevens convert stepped inside and then outside to beat two defenders on his way over the tryline. Pollard added the extras to give South Africa a 7-0 lead.

From the kickoff, The Springboks looked to exit their 22 but Italy launched a counte- attack. After a few phases, Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi was penalised for not rolling away at a ruck. Italy flyhalf Tommaso Allan nailed a straightforward penalty to make it 7-3. 

The Springboks managed to regain possession after the restart and began another assault on the Italian 22. Blindside flank Pieter-Steph du Toit got hit by high tackle, which gave Pollard a chance to add some scoreboard pressure from a penalty. The Springbok pivot made no mistake, giving South Africa a 10-3 lead. 

Around the 20 minute mark, the Springboks began putting some serious pressure on Italy defensively. Allan was eventually forced to kick a couple of bombs and the South African backline failed to take the ball down cleanly. 

Italy benefitted from back to back scrums in the South African 22 but some more brutish defence from the Springboks eventually resulted in a scrum penalty which allowed Pollard to kick his side out of trouble. 

READ: Kolisi - Boks not disrupted by Etzebeth-SAHRC saga

As Italy looked to attack, Duane Vermeulen won an important turnover at a ruck, giving SA another chance to setup a lineout deep in Italy’s half. The Springboks set a maul but attacked wide instead but a final pass to Willie le Roux went astray. 

Referee Wayne Barnes brought playback for a penalty at the previous maul. The Springboks kicked for the line once again, setup a massive driving maul and hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored cruised over the try line to score. Pollard converted to make it 17-3 after 29 minutes. 

As the Springboks began to dominate the Italian pack, the Azzurri lost their reserve tighthead prop Nicola Quaglio to injury, which forced the match into uncontested scrums. 

South Africa bossed play in the remaining minutes of the half but a number of scoring chances went begging due to handling errors.

Red card costs Italy

The second half got underway on a sour note as Italy were reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the match. 

The incident was unfortunate, as Italy had just made a linebreak from inside their own half that had taken them just short of the Springbok try line. Vermeulen managed to pinch the ball at a ruck, before he was dumped on his head by a double tackle. 

Barnes gave a red card to loosehead prop Andrea Lovotti, adding further woes to Italy’s struggling cause.

The Springboks went on the attack and made headway with the one-man overlap. Pollard made a break in the midfield which resulted in a try, but it was then disallowed because of an obstruction line by Siya Kolisi. 

A few minutes later, Pollard extended the lead as he kicked a penalty after Italy were penalised for an infringement at a breakdown.

South Africa made their way back into the Italian half from the kickoff and some great play between forwards and backs ended off in an exceptional team try. Pollard eventually kicked a cross-field chip which was fielded by Kolbe, who ran in his second try of the game. Pollard couldn’t convert, leaving the Springboks leading 25-3. 

Following the restart, a long passage of play began that saw both teams make breaks and trade possession in each other’s halfs. Eventually, Italy made a short break down the left-hand touchline, but Lukhanyo Am pinched an intercept and ran in another try. Pollard added the extras to give South Africa a 32-3 lead. 

South Africa continued to dominate play due to their numerical advantage and just before the 70th minute, fullback Willie le Roux put a little chip behind the Italian defence. Left-wing Makazole Mapimpi chased up and regathered the ball before speeding away to score. Pollard converted to extend his side’s lead to 39-3. 

Another try followed on the 75th-minute mark. Frans Steyn fired a grubber deep into the Italian 22, which was chased down by Kolbe. The wing tackled his opposite number into touch, but the ball was thrown back into play just before they went out. Reserve lock RG Snyman scooped up the loose ball to score. Pollard couldn’t convert from the touchline - leaving the Springboks leading 44-3. 

The Springboks put the final nail in the coffin at full time, scoring a final try from a powerful driving maul Malcolm Marx emerged as the try scorer. Pollard couldn’t add the final conversion of the game leaving South Africa 49-3 winners over Italy.

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