November 25, 2017 / 4:29 PM / a year ago

Rugby-South Africa steamroll Italy to avenge 2016 loss

PADOVA, Italy, Nov 25 (Reuters) - South Africa beat Italy 35-6 in Padova on Saturday, scoring five converted tries to avenge their shock loss to the Azzurri last year.

South Africa, who have struggled this year against top-tier teams, offered a very different performance to last year’s shambolic effort, controlling the game and using their big forwards as battering rams on a wet and foggy afternoon.

The Springboks scored four tries through the forwards, overpowering the Italians in the ruck and maul with the first two going to flanker Francois Louw and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who was making his first start.

Centre Francois Venter then scored out wide before halftime, cleaning up the ball from a kick to the corner.

In the second half, the visitors’ pack struck again, with replacement prop Steven Kitshoff touching down within minutes of the restart.

Replacement lock Franco Mostert crossed under the posts near the final whistle to seal the victory, with man-of-the-match Handre Pollard adding his fourth conversion. (Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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