Italy vs South Africa

Italy host South Africa from 15:00 on Saturday 19 November. Photos: Backpagepix/ SA Rugby

Italy vs South Africa: Springboks win try-fest

Italy vs South Africa: Seven second-half tries, saw the Springboks record a resounding 63-21 win in Genoa.

Italy vs South Africa

Italy host South Africa from 15:00 on Saturday 19 November. Photos: Backpagepix/ SA Rugby

Italy vs South Africa: The Springboks take on the Gli Azurri in what could be an interesting Test rugby battle.

ALSO READ: Springboks going into Italy clash with their eyes open

Italy vs South Africa: LIVE scores

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Italy vs South Africa: Match report

Seven second-half tries, with Kurt-Lee Arendse grabbing a brace in a Man of the Match performance, saw the Springboks record a resounding 63-21 win over Italy in Genoa.

The big win was South Africa’s first of their tour of the Northern Hemisphere following two narrow losses to Ireland and France in the last fortnight.

The 63 points scored by the Springboks, is the most against the Azzurri since South Africa won by 101-0 in Durban back in 1999, and it’s also their highest score in Italy.

Springboks break records

It was also the biggest winning margin under Jacques Nienaber as head coach, surpassing the 40-9 win over Georgia in his first Test in charge in 2021, and the Springboks’ biggest win since beating Canada 66-7 at the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

The first half saw some enterprising rugby from both sides, with the Springboks scoring two tries, a conversion and a penalty goal which handed them a 18-13 halftime lead. The home side replied with a converted try and two penalty goals.

The Springboks cut loose in the second half though, to outscore the home side by seven tries to one, displaying some beautiful attacking play to halt the Azzurri in their tracks.

Second half powers Italy vs South Africa result

That was mainly due to the introduction of the powerful Bomb Squad – the replacement forwards – early in the second half, which injected extra energy into the Bok pack.

Manie Libbok, coming on as a second-half replacement for the injured Cheslin Kolbe, slotted in impressively into the flyhalf position (with Damian Willemse moving to right wing) and kicked five conversions to add to his good distributing skills.

Italy vs South Africa: Arendse the star

Arendse was impressive with ball in hand as his Test tally moved to six tries in as many appearance, while the former Blitzbok speedster also made a great all-round contribution, and he was deservingly awarded the Man of the Match accolade.

It was the livewire Arendse who broke the cover defence and scored out wide with hardly two minutes on the clock to hand SA a good start from a move initiated by Willemse.

Italy responded with a penalty goal four minutes later, when Springbok midfielder Andre Esterhuizen was penalised at the breakdown. 

Italy hang on early

Tommaso Allan, the Italian pivot, made no mistake with the straight-forward kick to put the home side on the board, but moments later, Bok skipper Siya Kolisi pinned Italian hooker Giacomo Nicotera with a good tackle, winning a penalty in the process, and Kolbe stepped up to add the three to hand SA the 8-3 lead.

But the Italians duly scored straight from the kick-off when their outstanding young fullback Ange Capuozzo cut through the Bok defence to score in the corner with a stunning finish. Allan added the conversion to edge Italy 10-8 ahead, with the home fans now in fine voice.

Trading penalties

Allan and Kolbe traded penalty goals to change the score to 13-11 before Bongi Mbonambi went over after a wave of Bok attacks, with the hooker breaking away from the maul to score his third try against Italy as the South Africans regained the lead.

Kolbe added the extras to give the SA side a five-point advantage at 18-13, which is how it stayed until the break.

Minutes after the restart another Allan penalty goal closed the gap to 18-16, but the Springboks then decided to put the foot to the pedal to surge into an impressive, profiting period of play.

Manie Libbok makes the difference to Italy vs South Africa

Kolbe won the ball from the restart and raced clear to score the Boks’ third try. However, the Bok dynamo injured his hamstring in the process and was replaced by Libbok, who took over at flyhalf with Willemse moving to the wing.

Libbok then started to pull the strings as the Bok forwards provided him with a great attacking platform and he initiated a counter-attack to offload the ball cleverly, which resulted in a second try for Arendse. The replacement flyhalf kicked the conversion over from the touchline to take the score to 30-16.

Here comes the boom

With the Springbok Bomb Squad now on the pitch, the South Africans upped the tempo considerably to put Italy under all sorts of pressure.

Replacement flanker Kwagga Smith was the recipient of some clever lineout play. He was on hand to take the ball and force his way over next to the poles for a converted try, making it 37-16.  

Malcolm Marx, on for Mbonambi, also got in on the try-scoring act when he dotted down after another powerful lineout maul to stretch the lead to 42-16.

But the home refused to go away and their impressive No 8 and captain, Lorenzo Cannone, went over for the blue jerseys’ only second-half try which reduced the SA lead to 42-21.

However, the Boks weren’t done yet.

Replacement prop Steven Kitshoff then scored his second international try following more clever forwards-interplay, with Libbok adding the extras as the Springboks edged further ahead to 49-21 with 10 minutes remaining.

Italy vs South Africa becomes a rout

Willemse got their eighth try of the afternoon as the Springboks went past the 50-point mark in a move that went coast-to-coast. Libbok managed to squeeze the conversion past the upright to take the score to 56-21 with just six minutes remaining.

That, however, was enough time for replacement scrumhalf Cobus Reinach to make it nine tries in total for Siya Kolisi’s men when he took a pass from the impressive Arendse to dive over near the poles. 

Libbok kicked his fifth conversion to make the final score 63-21 for a great South African triumph.

The Springboks conclude their end of year tour next week when they face England at Twickenham.

Team news

Italy coach Kieran Crowley has made two changes to his team from last weekend’s historic victory over Australia.

The two changes to the starting team are both in the front row, where Pietro Ceccarelli (prop) and Giacomo Nicotera (hooker) will start in place of Simone Ferrari and Gianmarco Lucchesi respectively.

Experienced 10 Tommaso Allan will start at fyhalf again, after he was a late replacement last week for Paolo Garbisi. The only change on the bench sees Manuel Zuliani replace Toa Halafihi.

“We achieved a historic result against Australia, but we are not satisfied,” said Crowley.

“The following day the focus was immediately shifted to South Africa. It will be a very intense match from a physical point of view. We continue on this path proving to be competitive in every game.”

The Springboks hand opportunities to flyhalf Manie Libbok and Evan Roos.

Springboks loose forward Evan Roos
Springboks No 8 Evan Roos on the charge. Image: Gallo Images.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity, so much so that I am struggling to sleep at night,” said Roos.

“It has been a while since I last played a Test, so I really want to bring energy and a presence off the bench. I won’t do anything differently I just want to play my game.

“The last time I got a chance to play was against Wales, so one learns to appreciate it, and when you get the opportunity to play it is even more special.”

Roos added: “I’ve been learning a lot from Jasper and Kwagga and I am trying to take everything in. The nice thing about this environment is that it is competitive, but we help one another.”

Teams: Italy vs South Africa


Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan 9 Stephen Varney; 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 David Sisi, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Edoardo Padovani, 23 Tommaso Menoncello.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Evan Roos, 22 Cobus Reinach, 23 Manie Libbok.

Date: Saturday, November 19

Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa

Kick-off: 14.00 (15.00 SA time; 13.00 GMT)

Expected weather: Mostly cloudy, breezy and cooler. High of 16°C and a low of 11°C

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Sam Grove-White (Scotland)

TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)