South Africa ran riot against 14-man Italy to secure a 49-3 victory in their World Cup Pool B encounter in Shizuoka.
The impressive Cheslin Kolbe scored twice while Bongi Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx also got on the scoresheet in a comprehensive victory.
Italy spent the majority of the second half with 14 players after loosehead Andrea Lovotti was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Duane Vermeulen.
The seven-try victory takes South Africa to the summit of Pool B and all but ensures their place in the quarter-finals. However, a late injury to star man Kolbe soured a good night.
The defeat marks Italy’s first of the competition and they will now have to beat New Zealand to stand any chance of progression to the knockout stages.
South Africa, who bounced back from defeat to the All Blacks with a strong showing against Namibia, were ahead inside five minutes of Friday’s fixture. Following fine forward play by the Springboks, Kolbe found himself in space before skipping into the corner.
With 26 minutes gone, Mbonambi added a second after South Africa won the line-out and the hooker went in from a metre out.
Italy remained in contention at the interval, trailing 17-3, but any chance they had of a comeback were put to bed following Lovotti’s dismissal with just two minutes of the second half gone.
Lovotti and team-mate Federico Zani combined to lift Vermeulen in the air before dropping him headfirst to the ground.
Referee Wayne Barnes showed Lovotti the red card, and Zani could count himself fortunate to escape without punishment.
The floodgates opened, with Kolbe doubling his tally after 53 minutes when he pounced on Handre Pollard’s delightful cross-field kick.
Am then ran over following a frenetic moment of play to earn South Africa’s second bonus point in as many matches, before Mapimpi scored his 11th try in 11 outings for the Springboks.
With Italy continuing to tire, replacement forward Snyman dived over with four minutes left. Marx then scored in stoppage time to complete the win.
The only negative for South Africa came when Kolbe went down with an injury to his left leg in the closing stages.
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Eddie Jones believes England face a test of their “manlihood” when they attempt to guarantee passage into the World Cup quarter-finals by defeating Argentina.
The rivals clash at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday when the Pumas will be fighting to survive at Japan 2019 after losing their opener to France – England’s closest rivals for top spot in Pool C.
Until toppling Tonga last weekend, Argentina had lost their previous 10 Tests and they should be swept aside by the 2003 champions. But Jones insists that for England to prevail, they must win the forward battle.
“Argentina base their game on the scrum. It’s a test of manlihood so you have to take them on up-front – scrum, maul, ruck attack, ruck defence. That’s where it will be won,” Jones said.
“Everyone trained really well this morning – they’re looking fit, fast, brutal and ready to go.
“There are no last minute messages. The players are well prepared after a good week’s preparation. They know what to do, now they just have to go out there and do it.”
Defeat would almost certainly send Argentina home at the end of the pool stage and the Pumas camp have invoked an air of desperation in hope of upstaging a team that sits seven places higher in the global rankings.
Jones, however, does not see their precarious position as an opportunity to be exploited.
“It is not a matter of us taking advantage, it’s a matter of us preparing well for the game,” Jones said.
“We have prepared well for the game and physically we are in the best position we have ever been in.
“We can’t be seduced by Argentina’s state. We know they play with a lot of pride and a lot of passion and that will be multiplied by the fact they are in a game that’s very important to them.
“So that allows us to try and take away their strengths – it is pretty clear how they will play by the side they have picked – and then try and attack their weaknesses.
“Rugby is a tough physical game. We have seen that already at this World Cup. The passion and pride come down to the toughness of your play.
“But then there’s emotional control because when you have a lot of passion and pride, it tends to multiply your strengths and multiply your weaknesses.”
England have rebuilt following last year’s six-match losing sequence but doubts over their big game temperament persist due to their tendency to throw away leads – a frailty that cost them the recent Six Nations.
Every team faced now will be tier one opponents so slip ups cannot be afforded and Jones insists every effort has been taken to enable his players to deal with pivotal moments in games.
“We have worked hard on it, on creating training situations to equip the players for it,” Jones said.
“Working hard off the field to handle situations well. It’s a bit like a tea bag isn’t it? You don’t know good it is until you put it in hot water.”
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Dan Biggar is on course to be fit and available for Wales’ next Rugby World Cup game against Fiji.
The fly-half went off in the 28th minute of a pulsating Pool D victory over Australia on Sunday after making a try-saving tackle on Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi.
He failed a head injury assessment, and was replaced by Rhys Patchell, who kicked 14 points as Wales clinched a memorable 29-25 win.
“Dan is symptom-free at the minute, and obviously just doing his protocols as you normally would,” Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said.
“As far as I understand, he will be ready to go by the time we play Fiji (on October 9), so that’s obviously good news.
“It’s bumps and bruises other than that, normal stuff from a Test match of that size.
“Dan is an outstanding rugby player, a world-class rugby player, so he’s a huge part of our team and the way we like to play the game.
“I think we must not forget how good Rhys Patchell was when he came on, and how good a player he is as well. We are quite lucky to have the strength in depth that we have in our squad.”
Patchell’s composed performance helped Wales successfully navigate their way to victory as they held off a turbo-charged Wallabies fightback to take charge of Pool D.
Asked if it was the best form he had seen Patchell produce in a Wales shirt, Jenkins added: “In a game of that size, you could probably yes, but he was exceptional last summer in Argentina and the Six Nations a couple of years ago against Scotland.
“He was excellent on Sunday. He came on and played the game we wanted to play and put us in the right areas and got us the lead we maintained to win the game.”
Biggar and Patchell both kicked drop-goals in the game, which was double Wales’ tally from that scoring method between the 2015 World Cup and Japan 2019.
“It was our first time for 30-odd games that we’ve dropped a goal,” Wales’ record international points-scorer Jenkins said.
“I think against Japan was the last one when Sam Davies nailed one, and Dan’s last one I think was in the World Cup four years ago against South Africa.
“Shaun (Wales defence specialist Shaun Edwards) is always on to me, to be honest.
“Every clip he sees of some big World Cup game, there is pretty much a drop-goal in it, and obviously it proved vital for us on Sunday.
“It is a skill in itself. If you can nail those three points and keep ticking the scoreboard over – three, six, nine – it makes a big difference, and it did for us on the weekend.
“On most occasions that we were in Australia’s half in the first-half on Sunday, we managed to come away with points.
“I am sure as the tournament progresses, we will see a few more (drop-goals).”
Wales will complete their pool phase by tackling Fiji and then Uruguay, and they are firm favourites to win the group, setting up a potential quarter-final against France or Argentina.
“It is a fantastic achievement what we’ve done, but it is two out of two,” Jenkins added. “We have another two tough games to go against Fiji and Uruguay.
“There is no way Fiji are going to lie down for us a week on Wednesday, no chance. It is going to be a very tough game. It could even be harder than on Sunday in a funny way.
“If you take anyone lightly in this World Cup, as we have already seen, you are going to come undone, plain and simple. There are no easy games in Test rugby anymore.”