CAPE TOWN – South Africa's Springboks ground out a workmanlike 49-3 win over 14-man Italy in their RWC Pool B match at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, on Friday.
The Springboks led 17-3 at the break and once Italy were reduced to 14 players just two minutes in the second half, the match was as good as over as a contest.
Italy's woes started as early as the 2nd minute when prop Simone Ferrari cried off injured and was replaced by Marco Riccioni.
A 5th-minute line-out just inside Italy's 22m provided the platform for the Springboks' opening try. Once the ball was relayed along the backline, it was left to right-wing Cheslin Kolbe to work his magic out wide. He did so with deft side-stepping before crossing the whitewash.
Springbok pivot Handré Pollard added the conversion for a 7-0 lead. With this kick, Pollard passed a career milestone as it brought up his 400th point in Test rugby.
Pollard's opponent Tommaso Allan (the nephew of former Springbok and Scotland hooker John Allan) opened Italy's scoring in the match with an 8th-minute penalty (7-3). Three minutes later Pollard restored the 7-point lead with his first penalty (10-3).
In the 18th-minute replacement tighthead prop left the field for a HIA (head injury assessment) and from that point onwards all scrums were uncontested. This adjustment robbed the Springboks of a potent weapon and possibly a penalty-winning tool.
➡️100m ran (2nd Most)— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 4, 2019
➡️Three Clean Breaks (Most)
➡️Four Defenders Beaten (Third most)
The @mastercard Player of the Match for #RSAvITA was Cheslin Kolbe of @Springboks #POTM #RWC2019 #StartSomethingPriceless pic.twitter.com/CHklFDutc8