PADUA, Italy — There was to be no repeat of Italy’s surprise victory over South Africa as the Springboks thrashed the home side 35-6 in their rugby test in Padua on Saturday.
Italy started brightly but South Africa survived the early onslaught and led by three converted tries at halftime.
Francois Louw scored the first try, then Bongi Mbonambi, Francois Venter, and replacements Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert all scored their first tries for South Africa.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard wasn’t accurate off the tee in the narrow victory over France last weekend, missing three penalties and a conversion, but he converted four tries before being replaced by Elton Janties, who converted the fifth and last by Mostert.
Italy recorded its first victory over South Africa last year, winning 20-18 in Florence, but it has now lost 11 of its 12 matches since then.
Its solitary victory came in the first autumn test against Fiji.
Italy thought it scored the first try in Padua after 10 minutes but captain Sergio Parisse was penalized for offside. However, the game was brought back for a lineout penalty against Eben Etzebeth, and Carlo Canna slotted the first of his two penalties.
Minutes later, South Africa took a firm grip on the match with a fantastic team move finished by Louw.
They surged further ahead when, following an attacking lineout, hooker Mbonambi barged over on his first test start.
Then midfielder Venter collected a cross-kick from Pollard for a try confirmed by the TMO.
Italy, 21-6 down, had a chance to put more points on the board on the stroke of halftime but Canna missed a penalty from a central position.
The South African forwards used their domination to get replacement prop Kitshoff over after a driving maul early in the second half.
The Italians didn’t let their heads drop, and continued trying to build up play. Coach Conor O’Shea made five substitutions but they had no effect on the scoreline.
The Springboks scored their fifth try with six minutes remaining after Mostert powered over between the posts. The TMO confirmed the try, ruling there had been no contact made by Lood de Jager despite appearing to attempt to shoulder barge an Italian.