Boks beat brave Italy
South Africa were far from convincing but still managed to secure a 29-13 victory over a valiant Italy at the Puma Stadium.
Last Updated: 19/06/10 6:07pm
South Africa fought off a valiant challenge from Italy to secure a 29-13 victory at the Puma Stadium in Witbank.
The Springboks ran in four tries through Bryan Habana, Francois Louw, Morne Steyn and Zane Kirchner but the victory was not as convincing as the scoreline suggests.
The Azzurri were competitive throughout as the hosts failed to hit the heights of last weekend's 42-17 thrashing of RBS Six Nations champions France.
However, the hosts' clinical finishing was decisive - they entered their opponents' 22 just three times in the first half, but crossed the try-line on each occasion.
Italy enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 40 minutes but could not put points on the board, although they finished the match strongly with a try from Sergio Parisse and a conversion and two penalties from Mirco Bergamasco.
The two sides traded penalties at the start of the contest, with Bergamasco and Steyn slotting over before South Africa took the initiative with the game's first try.
Kirchner's neat grubber kick allowed Habana to outrun the cover defence and touch down, Steyn adding the extras.
Italy did threaten to respond with a try of their own through captain Parisse and Andrea Masi, but were unable to convert close to the line.
The Springboks then made the visitors pay for the missed opportunity when Luow grabbed his second Test try off the back of a powerful rolling maul.
Fly-half Steyn broke through a gap in the Italy defence to cross the line for a converted score as the hosts surged into a 22-3 lead.
Their fourth try came nine minutes after the break, Kirchner racing clear down the left wing as the away team ran out of numbers. Steyn added the extras.
However Italy finally got their reward for their efforts when Tito Tebaldi set up Parisse to ease over the line, though by that stage the deficit they were facing was far too great to consider mounting a comeback.
At least they managed to score more points than the world champions in the second half, Bergamasco slotting over a second penalty late in the day having also converted Parisse's score.