Kolbe magic as Springboks put one foot in Rugby World Cup quarter finals | Daily News


 

Kolbe magic as Springboks put one foot in Rugby World Cup quarter finals

South Africa’s wing Cheslin Kolbe runs to score a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Italy at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in Shizuoka yesterday. - AFP
South Africa’s wing Cheslin Kolbe runs to score a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Italy at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in Shizuoka yesterday. - AFP

SHIZUOKA, FRIDAY: Electric winger Cheslin Kolbe scored a classy double as South Africa put one foot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a comprehensive 49-3 victory over 14-man Italy on Friday.

The result left both teams on 10 points, but Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks will bid for another full five points when they round off their Pool B campaign against whipping boys Canada in Kobe on Tuesday.

Italy, however, are left with a testing game against in-form defending champions New Zealand -- who first take on Namibia on Sunday -- in Toyota on October 12.

Man-of-the-match Kolbe’s try double was the highlight for the Springboks but the evening ended uncomfortably for the speedster when he limped off late in the game after twisting his ankle in a tackle.

Spurning a shot at goal, the Boks were quickly on the scoreboard thanks to the lightning feet of jinking Toulouse pocket-rocket Kolbe.

A floated miss-pass from Willie Le Roux found the diminutive winger in a dead end down his right touchline, but he somehow stepped inside Tommaso Benvenuti and darted around Matteo Minozzi to dot down in the corner for a fine try Handre Pollard converted.

Italy fly-half Tommaso Allan and Pollard traded penalties as Italy coach Conor O’Shea was dealt a further blow when his second tighthead, replacement Marco Riccioni, was subbed off injured with just 18 minutes on the clock.

It meant English referee Wayne Barnes had no option but to order non-contested scrums, during which neither side can push, starving South Africa of one of their key attacking weapons.

The Springboks, however, could still call on their big men, the likes of lock pairing Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, and No 8 Vermeulen, to take charge of their formidable driving mauls off attacking line-outs.

A wayward pass by Kolbe saw Le Roux fumble what would certainly have been a try, but hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi was on hand to dive over after one such efficient drive off a line-out. Pollard converted to make it 17-3 at half-time.

Incredibly, Italy lost a third prop at the start of the second period when loosehead Lovotti was sent off for his tip-tackle after the whistle on Vermeulen -- the third red card of this World Cup.

Pollard hit a second penalty as Italy struggled to cope with the Springboks’ all-encompassing defensive line speed and power runners in midfield.

The floodgates opened after centre Damian de Allende sparked a slick offloading attack before Pollard cross-kicked on the recycle, Kolbe picking up on the second bounce to cross for his brace.

The fly-half sliced that conversion, but made no mistake after centre Lukhanyo Am grabbed an opportunistic intercept try, Italy’s Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri forcing an inside pass with no one home.

Left winger Makazole Mapimpi then gathered a chip to cross for a deserved try after a great individual game, Pollard converting.

With Italy under the cosh Kolbe defied his size to bundle Minozzi touchwards with such force the Italy fullback attempted to keep the ball alive.

Bok replacement RG Snyman was on hand to intercept for the simplest of tries before Malcolm Marx popped over for the final word from an line-out maul. - AFP


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