PADOVA – Springbok coach Allister Coetzee praised his team for getting the job done by beating Italy 35-6 in very difficult conditions in Padova on Saturday.
The Springboks kept the Azzurri tryless for their biggest victory in Italy since 1997, while the haul of five tries was the most scored by the South Africans on Italian turf since 2001.
Coetzee was especially pleased with the performance of the Springbok forwards, who did a splendid job against a determined home onslaught in the Test, which was played in persistent rain and very slippery conditions.
“I think it was a very clinical effort by especially our pack of forwards, who laid the foundation for a pleasing performance,” said Coetzee.
“And the backs adapted well in being direct. You have to work very hard up here in the Northern Hemisphere and be able to adjust your game, which I thought we did very well.
“Our composure was good throughout the match, and I have to praise the team’s leadership, who were yet again outstanding. We had a plan and they ensured we stuck to it.
“Our set piece was excellent and although the conditions were not good for our backs, they contributed with a very good defensive effort to help keep our opponents scoreless,” added Coetzee.
Four of the Springbok tries were scored by forwards, and Coetzee was satisfied with the effort of the starting pack as well as the replacement forwards.
Francois Louw crossed the tryline in the 13th minute, and he was followed by Bongi Mbonambi, Francois Venter, Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert, all of whom scored their first Test tries in the Green and Gold.
Three overseas-based players – Louw, Mostert and Duane Vermeulen – will return to their respective clubs on Sunday, while Siya Kolisi will re-join the Springbok squad in Wales, having missed the Italian Test because of the birth of his second child.
Japan-based Elton Jantjies will remain with the team for their last tour match, next Saturday against Wales in Cardiff.
Tendai Mtawarira sustained a groin injury in the first half of the Italian Test and a call on his availability will be made later in the week.
The Springboks will travel to Cardiff on Sunday, where they will prepare themselves for their last Test of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour at the Principality Stadium.