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Patience key for South Africa in Italy triumph, says Nienaber

Patience key for South Africa in Italy triumph, says Nienaber

Patience key for South Africa in Italy triumph, says Nienaber

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber praised the patience of his try-happy side in their emphatic 63-21 victory over Italy in Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series.

The Springboks scored nine tries in total and surpassed 50 points for the first time since Nienaber took the top job in 2020. It was also their first 40-point haul against a Tier One nation under his stewardship.

They did not have it all their own way though, and led by just two points five minutes into the second half before the ‘bomb squad’ arrived to wreak havoc, with four of South Africa’s seven second-half scores coming from the replacements bench.

Asked how his side converted their chances against Italy, Nienaber said: “People always talk about balance but I thought Italy were phenomenal to start with.

“We didn’t have space in the front line and we really had to work hard but I think we then got a little bit of space at the back end of the first half.

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“Then in the second half there was even more space and I thought the game-drivers handled it well, so I think it’s always about balance.

“If there’s no space in the front line, you have to look at other avenues to apply pressure on the opposition and if there is some space in the front line you must have the confidence to play.”

Kurt-Lee Arendse enjoyed another fine afternoon, adding to his tries against Ireland and France with a double in Genoa.

He has now scored in five of his six Test appearances and is fast becoming one of world rugby’s most devastating wingers.

“Thank you to the team. We stuck to our game plan today and we’re happy with the win,” said Arendse, after his team’s first win of the autumn.

“We’re just trying to focus on ourselves at the moment [after a difficult run of games] and we’re taking it from there.”

For Italy, it was another pleasing outing though they failed to replicate the 80-minute performance which saw them register a first-ever win against Australia in Round 2.

For a while, it was hard to imagine how anyone would fill the boots of Azzurri legend Sergio Parisse, who made the No.8 jersey his own in a much-storied 17-year international career.

But it would seem Italy supporters have a new hero to cherish, in the form of 21-year-old Lorenzo Cannone, who has crossed in two of his three Test starts.

He topped his side for turnovers won in the defeat at Stadio Luigi Ferraris and post-match, Italy captain Michele Lamaro was full of praise for the burgeoning Benetton man.

“He’s an amazing player, he’s so physical, he’s so good at the breakdown, he really impressed me with how he performed,” said Lamaro. “I see a big future for him so I will back him all the way.”

Italy’s Autumn Nations Series may have ended in defeat but that has done little to dampen the feel-good feeling around the side, with victories over Samoa and the Wallabies handing Kieran Crowley’s charges a winning autumn record.

At one stage, it looked as though they would go toe-to-toe with South Africa right until the final whistle, having trailed 18-16 at the start of the second half before the visitors ran riot, and Lamaro believes his team must learn how to wrestle back momentum when games turn against them.

“We will work on that 100%,” he said. “We have worked on a lot of areas, our breakdowns look better, the way we play, our speed of play was good, but we have to keep it up for 80 minutes, that’s the most important thing at this level.

“Progress and process is our way, that’s what we have to do, but I think today we didn’t have enough for 80 minutes.

“We faced them for 45 to 50 minutes. We weren’t accurate enough in a couple of actions and the game slipped out of our hands.

“We just have to deal with specific moments better, but obviously it’s been an amazing four weeks.”


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