Spirited Springbok Women fall to clinical Italy in second international rugby union clash
The Bok Women went down 36-18 to Le Azzurre in their second WXV clash to remain winless in the competition.
The Springbok Women went down 36-18 to Italy in their WXV2 clash on Friday afternoon in Athlone.
South Africa showed heart in the display but couldn’t get their first WXV victory after going down 31-17 to Scotland last week.
South Africa found their usual ascendancy in the scrum and their lineout functioned well but their discipline and speed to the breakdown let them down against the 8th ranked Italians.
It was a spirited display by the 13th-ranked Bok Women, who played with 14-players on the field for half of the match, but the effort wasn’t enough as the clinical Italians made South Africa pay for their errors.
The Springbok Women’s defence was particularly leaky, letting in three first half tries. It could have been worse had it not been for excellent cover defence.
The first try of the match came through an excellent darting run from Italian fullback Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi who made a scathing run through the guts of the Springbok defence.
South Africa hit back quickly through skipper Babalwa Latsha who made a characteristic powerful run from close range to tie up the scores at 7-7.
The difference in skill level between the two sides became more apparent as the game continued and the young Italian backs started to off load out of contact into quicker outside backs.
More beautiful interplay saw flying winger Aura Muzzo dot down the corner for Le Azzurre.
The Bok Women received a yellow card to Veroeshka Grain in the 15th minute for a high hit and Italy scored shortly after through a well-worked try down the right flank by Alissa Ranuccini during that period.
SA flyhalf Libbie Janse van Rensberg also pulled three points back for the Boks to take the score to 22-10 at halftime.
South Africa only played with 15-players for a short period of time after Grain returned to the field as No. 8 Aseza Hele was shown red in the 50th minute for a high shot.
Despite the scoreline dominance on the scoreboard by Italy, South Africa continued to get the upper hand in the scrum.
But Hele’s red card, as well as an injury to both of the Boks’ hookers Micke Gunter and Luchell Hanekom, meant the team went to uncontested scrums as well as 13 players.
Italy scored their fourth try of the match through a rolling maul three minutes soon after to take the score to 29-10 and ensure the game was all but sealed.
However, with 13 players on the field, South Africa showed resolve and heart to build several phases on the Italian try line.
With a penalty advantage, quick hands down the right blindside saw winger Byrhandre Dolf dot down in the corner to close up the score to 29-18 with 20 minutes left in the match.
With the Bok Women building a number of phases in the middle of the park without much forward momentum, Italian winger Alyssa D’Incà intercepted a short but predictable pass by centre Piwokuhle Nyanda to scream down the field and take the match out of reach for the guests at 36-18.
South Africa take on 15th placed Samoa in their final WXV clash next weekend. DM