JOHANNESBURG - South Africa kept their hopes of moving into the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup well in hand with a 49-3 win over Italy on Friday.
South Africa went into their Pool B match against Italy knowing that a win would keep their hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals alive.
The Springboks took an impressive winning record into the clash, having lost just once in their previous 14 matches against the Azzurri.
South Africa got the game off to the perfect start, with Cheslin Kolbe scoring the first try of the match inside the opening 5 minutes.
There was some good pressure from the Bok attack before Kolbe showed some quick feet to side step a few Italian defenders and cross the whitewash. Handre Pollard added the extra 2 points to get South Africa on the board early.
Italy would get their first points of the match through the boot of Tommaso Allan after Bongi Mbonambi was penalised for not rolling away at the ruck.
The Boks went on the attack again and won a penalty right in front of the poles as Pollard moved past 440 points in Test rugby.
Midway through the first-half, Mbonambi scored South Africa’s second try of the game after a strong maul.
The Springboks did have chances to add to their tally but couldn’t convert their opportunities into points as the teams went into the break with South Africa leading 17-3.
The second-half started in the worst possible way for Italy, with Andrea Lovotti shown a red card for a shocking tip tackle on Duane Vermeulen.
Moments later, Pieter-Steph du Toit thought he crossed the line for South Africa’s third try but it was disallowed after the TMO deemed that Kolisi obstructed a would-be tackler in the buildup.
South Africa would get their third try in the 52nd minute as Kolbe dotted down for his second of the match. Pollard put him into space with a cross-kick as the Boks made the most of their numerical advantage.
The 14 men of Italy were feeling the pace of the game and South Africa had the bonus point try inside the 60-minute mark as Lukhanyo Am strolled over the line after a well-timed interception on the half-way line.
Italy’s defence were struggling to cope with the numerical disadvantage as Makazole Mapimpi was put through after a clever chip kick from Willie le Roux as the Boks scored their 5th try of the game.
Mapimpi and Le Roux almost combined again heading into the final 10 minutes but were stopped just short of the line.
The Springboks were all over their northern hemisphere opponents. Some great pressure from Kolbe forced Minozzi into a lose pass that was picked up by RG Snyman as the big lock dotted down for South Africa’s 6th try of the match.
Malcolm Marx added a 7th try for the Boks after another dominant maul from 5 metres out.
This article first appeared on EWN : Kolbe stars as Boks thrash 14-man Italy