Italy downed by Samoa
Samoa made it two wins from two in South Africa after hammering a poor Italy 39-10 in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The Italian scrum was their only source of a joy in a dire performance, with Samoa holding firm in defence and also excelling in open play by racking up several long-range tries.
Central to their efforts was Paul Williams, the Stade Français back scoring the points off the tee and also crossing for the game's first try.
The Islanders only held a slender lead at half-time but were irrepressible in the second half, scoring four tries and sending a message to South Africa ahead of their encounter next weekend.
Samoa impressed with their 27-17 victory over Scotland last weekend in Durban, the threats out wide of Alapati Leiua and Alesana Tuilagi bagging the tries as the Islanders underlined that they can compete with the top sides.
Italy on the other handed started brightly against the Springboks before fading dramatically in the second half, ultimately beaten comfortably 44-10.
A scoreless opening quarter dominated by issues at the scrum was eventually punctured by a try from Williams after the initial break from Tusi Pisi and Leiua put the Islanders in front.
Orquera responded with a penalty, recovering from his earlier miss to put Italy on the board as Jacques Brunel's side looked to use the full width of the pitch to try and stretch the Samoan defence.
Williams added a penalty to keep the Samoans out in front, with referee Craig Joubert repeatedly addressing both sides for indiscipline throughout the first half.
A knock to the face of Sergio Parisse gave Italy cause for concern after the captain was taken out at the ruck, the big boot of Gonzalo Garcia unable to add another three points as his penalty attempt from the other side of halfway trickled under the posts.
Sustained pressure from Samoa inside the Italian 22 then resulted in more points before half-time - Parisse penalised for not rolling away but Williams missed his second penalty attempt to the right of the posts.
A calamitous pass from Jeremy Su'a put Samoa back under pressure in their own half but Gonzalo Canale was unable to control the ball as he hacked on towards the try line. Pisi recovered to clear and keep Samoa 10-3 ahead at the break.
Samoa though wasted no time after the interval - winning possession and a clever kick in behind from Pisi had the Italians scrambling, Leiua with the pace and the bounce to score in the corner.
Parisse was full of tricks and skill for the Italians but Samoa always looked like they could produce more in attack, stretching Italy defensively and forcing penalties both on the ground and for offside.
A long-range penalty from Williams added to his and Samoa's tally to open up a 15-point lead for the Samoans, before it increased minutes later.
Italy struggled to maintain possession at the breakdown all game and Pisi pounced, spotting the space and releasing London Irish star Ofisa Treviranus who fed Johnny Leota for Samoa's third try.
Samoa then snatched a fourth try as the outstanding Ole Avei dubiously offloaded with his feet near to the touchline to feed Newcastle's Taiasina Tuifua.
Italy's one strength did pay off when their scrum created a penalty try, Leiua sent to the sin-bin moments before for infringing at the breakdown.
The Samoans rightly however had the final say, late call-up Brando Va'aulu speeding away for the fifth try after jinking around the Azzurri defence and sealing a 39-10 victory.
<b>For Samoa:</b><br><b>Tries:</b> Williams, Leiua, Leota, Tu'ifua, Va'aulu<br><b>Cons:</b> Williams, Anufe<br><b>Pens:</b> Williams 2
<b>For Italy:</b><br><b>Try:</b> Penalty<br><b>Con:</b> di Bernardo<br><b>Pen:</b> Orquera
<b>Samoa:</b>15 Brando Vaaulu, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Paul Williams (capt), 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Jeremy Sua, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Wayne Ole Avei, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.<br><b>Replacements:</b> 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Logovii Mulipola, 18 James Johnston, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Ki Anufe, 22 Seilala Mapusua, 23 Piula Faasalele.
<b>Italy:</b>15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Mauro Bergamasco , 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Valerio Bernabo, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alberto De Marchi.<br><b>Replacements:</b>16 Andrea Manici, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Tobias Botes , 22 Alberto di Bernardo, 23 Luke Mclean,
<b>Referee:</b> Craig Joubert (South Africa)<br><b>Assistant referees:</b> John Lacey (Ireland), Tiaan Jonker (South Africa)<br><b>Television match official:</b> Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)<br><b>Assessor:</b> Nigel Williams