Rugby World Cup 2019: South Africa smash 14-man Italy

  • 05/10/2019

South Africa moved to the top of Rugby World Cup Pool B after a resounding 49-3 win over an Italy side reduced to 14 men for most of the second half. 

The Springboks have never failed to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup and they all but erased that possibility at this tournament with a display of controlled brutality at Shizuoka Stadium.

Cheslin Kolbe scored a try in each half, while Bongi Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx also crossed for the two-time World Cup winners. 

Trailing 17-3, the Azzurri lost prop Andrea Lovotti, who was sent off for dropping Duane Vermeulen on his head in the 43rd minute.

Their slim hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals now rest on beating the All Blacks for the first time.

Italy had spoken before the game of how discipline would be crucial in deciding the outcome, but they did not back their words with action as they battled to match the physicality of their fired-up opponents.

While the Boks weren't perfect, they did show signs of improvement from their opening 23-13 loss to the All Blacks suggest they remain a real threat.

They demonstrated their forward dominance in the opening minutes, but they then lost tight-head prop Simone Ferrari forced off the field with a hamstring strain.

From the attacking line-out, the ball was spun wide to the dazzling Kolbe, and he stepped inside and out to beat two defenders and score in the corner.

Tommaso Allan kicked Italy's only points from a penalty conceded at the breakdown, but the Boks restored the seven-point gap when Pollard countered with a kick of his own.

Ferrari's replacement, Marco Riccioni, managed only 16 minutes on the pitch before he went off with a head injury. 

That meant the final 62 minutes were played with uncontested scrums as the introduction of Nicola Quaglio meant Italy had two loosehead props on the pitch.

The Boks were rewarded for some positive play to score their second try through Mbonambi for a 17-3 halftime lead.

Italy, started the second half with a thrilling break into the Boks 22, but, Lovotti inexplicably tipped Vermeulen through 180 degrees and allowed him to fall onto his head.

The clear red card offence ended any realistic hopes for Italy, who duly crumbled.

South Africa 49 (Cheslin Kolbe 2, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman, Malcolm Marx tries; Handre Pollard 4 conversions, 2 penalties) Italy 3 (Tomasso Allan penalty).

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