Springboks labour in the wet

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis scored two tries from lineout drives as South Africa ground out an unimpressive 26-0 win over Italy in terrible conditions in a one-off Test on Saturday.

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis scored two tries from lineout drives as South Africa ground out an unimpressive 26-0 win over Italy in terrible conditions in a one-off Test on Saturday.

Steady rain fell throughout most of the match and, after torrential downpours on the days leading up to the match, the pitch was a slippery morass.

Despite dominating territory and possession, the Springboks could only gather four tries, by flyhalf Francois Steyn and prop Tendai Mtawarira, and the brace by Du Plessis.

The Springboks were most impressive when their forwards drove with the ball and Du Plessis scored in the 17th and 44th minutes from the protection of the rolling maul.

Steyn, starting at flyhalf for the first time, scored his try with a dazzling piece of individual skill and succeeded with three conversions but was occasionally found wanting in the pivot position.

l The Blue Bulls got their Absa Currie Cup season off to a flying start with an emphatic 21-7 victory over arch-rivals the Lions in a pulsating encounter at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday.

The Bulls lead 6-0 at the break, through a lovely penalty by flyhalf Morne Steyn and scrumhalf JP Joubert's drop goal.

But a second half hat trick by winger John Mametsa blew the Lions away.

Srumhalf Jano Vermaak replied for the Lions with a try that was converted by Earl Rose.

Mametsa was voted man of the match.

l The Falcons surrendered 48-42 to the Cavaliers at Bosman Stadium in Brakpan on Friday night. - Reuters and additional reporting by Meshack Khotha

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