PLAYER RATINGS: Pitiful in Padua
OPINION: Italy dominated possession and territory, but still got outplayed by an impressive South African team in Padua on Saturday.
After recording a first ever victory over South Africa at the Stadio Euganeo in Padua in November 2016 an expectant crowd was left disappointed after their team were outclassed and outscored by five tries to nil in a 6-35 defeat at the hands of the Springboks.
The result means that Italy have now lost 11 of their last 12 matches, not pretty reading for any fan of the Azzurri.
Joshua Isaacson rates the Italian players!
15 Jayden Hayward
First touch was a kick up field which gifted possession to the Springboks. Another aimless kick up field in the 17th minute, tried to get involved at the breakdown and contribute in all areas of the game.
14 Angelo Esposito
Did not see much ball however used as a chaser to compete for up and unders on the wing. Ran a good line from a set move and lost the ball in the tackle midway through the first half.
13 Tommaso Boni
Rushed up well on defence and managed to close down the space on occasions.
12 Tommaso Castello
Plenty of promise on attack in the opening few minutes but did not see much of the ball throughout the first half, closed down space on defence with some good positioning.
11 Mattia Bellini
Did well to get involved with the forwards and pop up on the inside channels as a support player
10 Carlo Canna
Good understanding with his backs, outstanding tactical kicking finding space at the back with a kick over the top of the South Africa back three for Sergio Parisse to chase. Parisse competed in the air and won possession back for Italy, contributed with six points from two penalty kicks at poles.
9 Marcello Violi
Well timed box kick which caught Andries Coetzee off guard in the first minute of the game, Italy contested in the air and won the ball back and put in a well timed grubber kick which found touch on the South Africa five metre line second minute. Good distribution to his forwards and tactically astute.
8 Sergio Parisse (captain)
Passionate team talk in the change room prior to kickoff, played his 129th Test match for the Azzurri. Gave his team good momentum with plenty of physicality and ran hard over the advantage line with his first touch of the game in the first minute. Offloaded well in the tackle and was everywhere for Italy. Another courageous performance from the Azzurri legend.
7 Abraham Steyn
Faced his country of birth and was expected to provide plenty of physicality and get in the faces of the South Africans, contributed at the breakdown but had a fairly quiet game.
6 Giovanni Licata
Showed good pace with ball in hand and made some good metres and showed some good footwork in keeping the ball in play with limited space at the end of the first half. Combined well with Sergio Parisse on attack.
5 Dean Budd
Secured Italy possession at the line-out, however conceded a penalty for taking out Mbonambi at the back of the maul in an offside position at the beginning of the second half.
4 Marco Fuser
Showed good understanding at the line-out, conceded a penalty for joining the ruck from the side in the 43rd minute
3 Simone Ferrari
Made some good pick and goes, however he was outdone in the scrum by his opposite number- Wilco Louw.
2 Luca Bigi
Accurate throw at the line-out in the eighth minute, however he did not throw straight at the line-out in the 26th minute. Made some good carries with ball in hand.
1 Andrea Lovotti.
Was unable to get scrum dominance over his opposite number- Tendai Mtawarira and struggled against Steven Kitshoff however his ball carrying ability in open play was satisfactory.
16 Leonardo Ghiraldini (on for Luca Bigi, 47th minute)
Plenty of energy with ball in hand as he got Italy over the advantage line with good running at the line and mixed up his throws at the line-out sometimes going to the back and sometimes going to the front.
17 Federico Zani
18 Tiziano Pasquali (on for Simone Ferrari, 60th minute)
Put in a good effort at scrum time and in the set-piece and provided Italy with fresh legs and plenty of physicality.
19 Francesco Minto (On for Marco Fuser, 68th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
20 Renato Giammarioli (on for Abraham Steyn, 47th minute)
Provided Italy with a different set of skills at the breakdown, was mobile in the loose and worked hard to protect the ball at the breakdown.
21 Edoardo Gori (on for Marcello Violi, 47th minute)
Managed to combine with forwards and draw in the Springbok defence with some well timed passes.
22 Ian McKinley (on for Carlo Canna 54th minute)
Took the ball out wide in an attempt to get Italy back in the game and played tactically well by pinning the Springboks in their half with accurate kicks to touch.
23 Matteo Minozzi. (On for Tommaso Castello, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
By Joshua Isaacson