STAT ATTACK: While not particularly pretty, the conditions called for dominance up front, a water tight defence, and astute use of the boot. The Boks delivered on all three.
Between Handre Pollard and Andries Coetzee, they made more metres via the boot than the entire Italian side as the Boks powered their way to a convincing 35-6 win in Padova on Saturday.
The two carved off 664m via the boot, with Pollard delivering a match-controlling 369m from his 12 kicks. This while the home side only kicked 24 times in total – 12 less than the Boks for 368 fewer metres – in truly dreadful conditions which made the ball-in-hand approach extremely difficult.
Tactically, it was a poor decision from the Italians, who then proved woeful with ball in hand. Having dominated both the possession and territory, they made over 200 passes, yet only broke the Springbok line twice all afternoon! It made for painful viewing.
The Boks, on the other hand, were much more tactically astute, and precise in their execution. While not particularly pretty, notching up five tries in the driving rain called for control and dominance up front, a watertight defence, and astute use of the boot. They delivered on all three.
Both the lineout and scrum were solid, with the latter showing signs of out-and-out dominance on occasion, they only lost one ruck, won the maul battle 5-4, won the turnover battle 7-0, the kicking game was good, and only missed 20 tackles for an excellent 93% success rate.
A total of 27 dominant hits speaks to the character shown on the day. In horrible conditions, against a side they lost to 12 months ago, down on confidence, and taking hits on all fronts in the media, this was a box-ticker.
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