South Africa scored five tries to overwhelm Italy 44-10 at King’s Park in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday, but the hosts needed three late scores to add a flattering edge to the result.
The Springboks raced into a 20-0 lead, but allowed themselves to be pinned back for the first 20 minutes of the second half before scoring three tries in the final quarter of an hour.
All but one of the tries came from the hosts’ speedy back line in an error-filled match in which Italy surprised the hosts with their resilience and tactic of keeping the ball in hand.
Hooker Adriaan Strauss scored first for South Africa after 14 minutes with a pushover try, before a second was added nine minutes later when J.J. Engelbrecht dotted down after a spectacular break from Bryan Habana, whose pace caught Italy cold.
The comfortable halftime cushion set up the possibility of a runaway win, but Italy were a changed outfit after the break, taking the game to South Africa and pinning the home side in their own half.
Alberto Sgarbi’s try after an audacious pass through his legs from Italy skipper Sergio Parisse was richly deserved and when debutant flyhalf Alberto di Bernardo slotted over a penalty just before the hour mark, Italy had reduced the deficit to just 10 points.
Home crowd frustration boiled over with a bout of jeering when flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked away possession, but the final 15 minutes suddenly saw the ’Boks revive their form.
Habana scored his 48th Test try as he collected a ball just inside Italy’s half and then set off at pace, cutting through the defense spectacularly to score.
That was followed by two more tries from the backs, with captain Jean de Villiers scoring at the end of an expansive move and Bjorn Basson added a fifth with an intercept try from the halfway line.
“We had a slump in the middle of the game, but came back strongly in the latter part of the second half,” De Villiers said.
SAMOA 27, SCOTLAND 17
Reuters, DURBAN, South Africa
Giant winger Alesana Tuilagi scored two tries as Samoa claimed their first victory over Scotland at King’s Park in the first of a double-header on Saturday.
Tuilagi, whose brother Manu is on tour with the British and Irish Lions in Australia, gave an impressive exhibition of brute strength to power over for his two scores as Samoa snapped a streak of eight previous matches without success against Scotland.
Fullback James So’oialo got Samoa’s other try and contributed 12 points from the boot.
Samoa’s imposing pack and fast-paced backs ensured a storming start with two tries in the opening 13 minutes.
So’oialo opened the scoring in the seventh minute as Samoa fielded a Scotland kick inside their own half to set up a sweeping move, finished off by the fullback.
Tuilagi scored his first from the left wing six minutes later as the huge Samoan frames battered through the Scotland defense.
Indiscipline in the scrums allowed Scotland to keep in touch through the boot of scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, who kicked four penalties, but also missed two easy opportunities.
Scotland enjoyed a brief lead at 17-14 when they reaped the rewards of a period of sustained pressure early in the second half which led to Sean Lamont scoring on the right wing, but they held the advantage for only a few minutes before So’oialo kicked over a penalty for parity, followed by Tuliagi’s second try as he raced through the defense, brushing aside a tackler to dive between the posts in the 64th minute.