springboks add to Italian woes

IT hasn't been the best of weeks for Italian sport teams.

IT hasn't been the best of weeks for Italian sport teams.

First their world champion soccer side took an early flight home from the 2010 World Cup after failing to get to the second round of the tournament.

Then on Saturday afternoon their national rugby side took a 55-11 pasting at the hands of the Springboks in East London.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and captain John Smit spoke in the build-up to the game of the need to up their game ahead of the Tri-Nations and that's exactly what the side did.

It was an improved performance on last weekend's efforts in Witbank and will give the team and management a degree of confidence ahead of the challenge of the next few weeks.

Though flanker Francois Louw picked up the man of the match award for his efforts, it could just as easily have gone to Morné Steyn.

The flyhalf was instrumental in giving the Boks early domination and his kicking - in blustery conditions - was flawless.

Two tries, seven conversions and three penalties for a personal total of 33 points illustrates just what an important cog he is in the Springbok wheel, which could have explained by De Villiers opted to pull him off with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Another player putting in a strong performance was No 8 Pierre Spies.

And it's not just his brute strength that is impressive, as he demonstrated when outsprinting Italian wing Mirco Bergamasco to the tryline.

Others to score tries for the Boks included BJ Botha, Flip van der Merwe, Bryan Habana and Jannie du Plessis.

Habana's try will be remembered not only for being a great individual effort, but also because he now holds the record for tries by a Springbok player with 38.

Italy played most of their game on the back foot, with just No 8 and captain Sergio Parisse making an impact.

It was scant consolation that they managed to pick up a try via right wing Michele Sepe, with Bergamasco adding two penalties.