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Springboks settle old Italy score

South Africa’s Francois Venter

South Africa set the record straight with a commanding 35-6 victory over Italy on Saturday.

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The Springboks fell to a shock 20-18 loss against the same side a year ago, but gained revenge in Padova after overcoming a wobbly start to triumph in a five-try romp.

With the visitors having beaten France – the nation who pipped them to Rugby World Cup 2023 hosting rights – last time out, they ought to have had a spring in their step.

But Allister Coetzee’s men were slow out of the blocks and fell behind before Francois Louw’s try shifted the impetus and laid the platform for a convincing success.

Bongi Mbonambi marked his first start with a try, while Francois Venter, Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert also got in on the act.

The hosts, beaten by Argentina in their previous outing, looked strong initially and Carlo Canna kicked them into an early three-point lead.

Having been starved of possession for large parts of the opening exchanges, the Springboks made it count when they did get hands on the ball.

A concerted spell of pressure set up Louw for the opening try and Handre Pollard added the extras.

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Italy kept at their task and cut the deficit when Canna again proved accurate from the tee, but their defence was found wanting when South Africa next pressed.

Coetzee’s side kicked for touch, resisting the urge to go for the three points, and from the consequent line-out they plundered another try as Mbonambi crossed following a rolling maul.

The contest was more or less settled before the break, with Venter touching down in the corner and Pollard extending the visitors’ lead to 15 points with the boot.

Italy’s misery only deepened after the interval, with Kitshoff’s converted try and Mostert’s first international score cementing South Africa’s dominance in an otherwise uneventful 40 minutes.

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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