South Africa defeated face Italy 49-3 in a Pool B match on 4 October at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture in Shizuoka. The Springboks held a 17-3 lead at the break. The Springboks top Pool B, although the All Blacks will be favored to claim the lead on Sunday when they face Namibia.
South Africa and Italy have 2-1 records after three rounds with the Azzurri likely being the third-place team out of the pool and qualifying for the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
Italy faces a difficult match in New Zealand next on Saturday 12 October and will need a win to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals. South Africa faces Canada on Tuesday on short rest and will be favored to advance to the knockouts.
South Africa opened the scoring with a try by Cheslin Kolbe after a long pass by Willie Le Roux inside the Azzurri 22-meters with Handre Pollard slotting the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The teams traded penalty goals with Italy’s Tommaso Allan slotting first after South Africa was penalized for not rolling away at the breakdown. The Springboks Pollard answered back next to push the lead to 10-3.
The Springbok physicality was a difference-maker as Mbonngeni Mbonambi scored off a driving maul with Pollard adding the extras for a 17-3 lead.
Early in the second half, Italy’s Andrea Lovotti was issued a red card for a tip tackle of Duane Vermeulen. That was a difference maker as Italy played with 14 men the rest of the match.
South Africa quickly added a penalty goal by Pollard and a try by Cheslin Kolbe after a cross-kick by Pollard to lead 25-3.
An intercept of an attempted pass by Jake Polledri, had Lukhanyo Am running in another try with Pollard adding the extras.
Makazole Mapimpi added his 11th try is as many tests with Pollard again adding the conversion to lead 39-3.
After Italy’s Matteo Minozzi kept the ball from going into touch a Kolbe hit led to RG Snyman gathering the loose ball and adding a try, 44-3.
In the closing seconds of injury time, Malcolm Marx added a final try after a rolling maul for a final of 49-3 for the Springboks.
Cheslin Kolbe was named Player of the Match.
With the win, South Africa is in first place in Pool B with 10 points over second place Italy by the head to head win, although they also have a significant point diferential.
New Zealand is in thrid place with 9 points, but their third round match is on Sunday against Namibia and they would be favored to take first place with a bonus point win.
South Africa concludes pool play against Canada on Tuesday 8 October, while Italy faces the All Blacks on Saturday, 12 October.
Squads & Match Preview
South Africa: 1 Tendai Mtawarira 2 Bongi Mbonambi 3 Frans Malherbe 4 Eben Etzebeth 5 Lood de Jager 6 Siya Kolisi (capt.) 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 8 Duane Vermeulen 9 Faf de Klerk 10 Handré Pollard 11 Makazole Mapimpi 12 Damian de Allende 13 Lukhanyo Am 14 Cheslin Kolbe 15 Willie le Roux 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 RG Snyman 20 Franco Mostert 21 Francois Louw 22 Herschel Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn
Italy: 1. Andrea Lovotti 2. Luca Bigi 3. Simone Ferrari 4. David Sisi 5. Dean Budd 6. Braam Steyn 7. Jake Polledri 8. Sergio Parisse (capt.) 9. Tito Tebaldi 10. Tommaso Allan 11. Michele Campagnaro 12. Jayden Hayward 13. Luca Morisi 14. Tommaso Benvenuti 15. Matteo Minozzi 16. Federico Zani 17. Nicola Quaglio 18. Marco Riccioni 19. Alessandro Zanni 20. Federico Ruzza 21. Sebastian Negri 22. Callum Braley 23. Carlo Canna