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Shades of Mealamu and Umaga as Italian prop sees red in loss to Springboks

South Africa wrapped up the bonus point after Lovotti and Quaglio combined to spear Duane Vermeulen.

South Africa 49

Italy 3

south-africa-v-italy-pool-b-2019-rugby-world-cup-shizuoka-stadium-ecopa Barnes issues red to Lovotti. Source: Adam Davy

THE GAME WAS just 43 minutes old when Italy were hit with a red card, but South Africa were already in full control with a 17-3 scoreline.

A moment of madness from Andrea Lovotti and Nicola Quaglio just simplified the outcome for the Springboks. 

With more than a hint of resemblance to the infamous spear tackle by Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga that ended Brian O’Driscoll’s 2005 Lions tour, the Azzurri props upended number 8 Duane Vermuelen after the referee’s whistle had blown to signal a penalty for Conor O’Shea’s side.

Vermeulen was fortunate to avoid serious injury and Italy were fortunate that Wayne Barnes’ punishment was just a solitary red card. The English official adjudged that Lovotti was the worse of the two offenders. Nobody will be surprised if the citing commissioner rules that Quaglio was just as culpable.


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The Springboks’ opened up their 17-3 half-time lead courtesy of an astounding fifth-minute finish from Cheslin Kolbe and a 26th-minute maul capped with Mbongeni Mbonambi’s touch down.

With early injuries to both tighthead Simone Ferrari and his replacement Marco Riccioni, the scrum was uncontested from the 20th minute on and Rassie Erasmus’ men didn’t get bogged down battling 14 men in the second half.

Tries from Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx completed the rout after Kolbe grabbed a second try, the Springboks’ third, with 52 minutes on the clock.

The bonus point success leaves the ‘Boks top of Pool B, with New Zealand still to face Namibia on Sunday.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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