South Africa turned on the second-half heat as they ran in a total of nine tries in a dominant 63-21 win over Italy in their test at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday.
The Springboks scored seven tries after the break as they wore down their hosts with relentless forward play to post their first win on their autumn tour, after losing narrowly in Ireland and France over the last weeks.
Kurt Lee Arendse scored two tries and there was one each for Bongi Mbonambi, Cheslin Kolbe, Kwagga Smith, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse and Cobus Reinach with Kolbe adding two penalties and a conversion and his replacement Manie Libbok kicking over five conversions.
Italy’s two tries were scored by Ange Capuozzo and Lorenzo Cannone, with Tomasso Allan putting over three penalties and a conversion.
The home side were brought back down to earth after their upset win over Australia last week but trailed by only five points at the break as they matched the tourists in an even first half, backed by a noisy crowd.
South Africa had taken an early lead when winger Arendse went over inside the opening five minutes but Capuozzo enhanced his growing reputation with a jinxing try as Italy took the lead and stayed ahead until the half-hour mark when Mbonambi went over after a typical Springbok maul and had the world champions five points clear at the break.
Allan reduced that led to two points early in the second half with a penalty but Kolbe grabbed the restart out of the air and ran through to score, turning the tide of the game.
Tries then followed quickly for Arendse, Smith and Marx as the Boks moved 42-16 clear before Italian loose forward Cannone halved the deficit on the hour mark.
But there was still time for Kitshoff, Willemse and Reinach to score, the last one unselfishly set up by Arendse who could have got a hat-trick of his own.