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South Africa have put on an enormous performance in Siuzoka to thrash Italy by 46 points, running on seven tries to none.
The second half saw five Springboks tries as they ran away with the contest against a 14-man Italian outfit, who lost Andrea Lovotti to a red card for a crazy lifting tackle.
South Africa wore the Italians down in the first half through the forwards as they dominated the game, then continued it in the second half as Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi got heavily involved in the contest on the back of excellent work from Handre Pollard and Willie Le Roux, who were excellent in creating offence.
The Springboks do have a worry though, with Cheslin Kolbe failing to finish the game after picking up an ankle injury.
Today’s result firms the Springboks favouritism to go through to the quarter-finals, with their final game set to be played on Tuesday against Canada.
Italy, on the other hand, will now need to find a way to beat New Zealand next Saturday if they hope to make their first quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup, however, that is now looking incredibly unlikely after today’s thrashing.
South Africa 49
South Africa will look to continue their run through the Rugby World Cup with a game they are expected to cruise through against Italy in Shizuoka. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:45pm (AEST).
The Springboks enter this game as red-hot favourites for this clash, however, it’s shaping as must-win if they are to avoid Italy upsetting the status quo and predicted quarter-finals.
While Italy haven’t played either of the top two sides in this group yet, being New Zealand or South Africa, they have a pair of bonus-point victories under their belt, having thrashed Canada and Namibia thus far at the tournament.
It means they sit at the top of Pool B on ten points, with the All Blacks behind them on nine and South Africa further back on five.
If all goes as expected, Italy won’t gain another point, however, a win here would put the Springboks in a position where they miss the quarter-finals, despite their last-start 57-3 victory over Namibia.
The Springboks had their attack motoring against Namibia, and come into this match with a more or less full-strength side, only making a handful of changes to the side who lost to the All Blacks in their opening match of the tournament.
They will look to get on top early as to rest some of their big guns during the second half.
The Italians are the bottom side of Europe’s six nations, but have taken care of business nicely at the World Cup so far, blasting past Namibia 47-22 and Canada 48-7 with startling ease.
The European nation will need to match the Springboks in the forwards if they hope to have a chance, keeping the game a low-scoring one and making the most of every opportunity they have to score.
The Springboks are heavy favourites, and their form suggests they should do a number on the Italians. Maybe not quite as badly as they would against some of the other minnow nations, but it’d be a surprise if this match is still a real contest at the halftime break.
South Africa by 26.
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Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEST)
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium
TV: Live, Fox Sports 503
Online: Live, Kayo Sports, Foxtel App, Foxtel Now
Betting: South Africa $1.02, Italy $15
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Mbongeni Mbonambi, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lodewyk De Jager, 6. Siya Kolisi, 7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 9. Faf de Klerk, 10. Handre Pollard, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 12. Damian De Allende, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 15. Willie Le Roux
Interchange: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. RG Snyman, 20. Franco Mostert, 21. Francois Louw, 22. Herschel Jantjies, 23. Frans Steyn
1. Andrea Lovotti, 2. Luca Bigi, 3. Simone Ferrari, 4. David Sisi, 5. Dean Budd, 6. Braam Steyn, 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Sergio Parisse (c), 9. Tito Tebaldi, 10. Tommaso Allan, 11. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Jayden Hayward, 13. Luca Morisi, 14. Tommaso Benvenuti, 15. Matteo Minozzi
Interchange: 16. Federico Zani, 17. Nicola Quaglio, 18. Marco Riccioni, 19. Alessandro Zanni, 20. Federico Ruzza, 21. Sebastian Negri, 22. Callum Braley, 23. Carlo Canna