Italians stunned by Samoa
Samoa sealed their place in the final of the South African Incoming Series as they put Italy to the sword with a ruthless demonstration of try-scoring prowess in a 39-10 win.
Samoa made a mockery of Italy's forward domination as the key strike runners, masterfully managed by Tusi Pisi wrought havoc. The result leaves Italy still looking for their first win of the series, which is now likely to see them meeting Scotland in next week's third-fourth place play-off.
The Samoans ran in five tries, with Paul Williams getting the first and finishing the match with 17 points. Italy finally got a five-pointer with a penalty try late on.
Predictably, it was an attritional game as the Italian possession game was pitted against the huge hits, the big runners and the handling skills of the Samoans. It all gave the proceedings a familiar pattern, Italy dominating possession and territory but unable to find a way past that last ferocious tackle, Samoa living off scraps but making the most of them.
Samoa went ahead when Pisi took a loose kick in his own half and ran the ball back into the opposition 22. He found support from Alapati Leiua, his opposite wing, to put captain and centre Williams, in for the opening try, which he converted himself.
An exchange of penalties from Williams and Luciano Orquera left the difference unchanged at half-time, but when the teams came back, Samoa lost no time in taking a stranglehold on the game. Pisi was again provider, his inch-perfect chip sending Lieua racing on to the ball to grab their second try.
It was not quite a case of the floodgates opening, but it was clear that only one team knew the way to the tryline as Williams nudged his team further ahead with a penalty and then Johnny Leota, the Sale centre, crashed over for try number three.
Sergio Parisse tried to get Italy back into the game, but to no avail, and soon Samoa were back in the ascendancy.
Wayne Ole Avei, the hooker somehow working the ball back to Taiasina Tuifu'a, the Newcastle number eight, for the bonus point try that assured their place in the Incoming Series final.
Italy managed to grab a converted penalty try in the 71st minute to save their blushes, but Jeremy So'oialo, the full-back, restored his side's advantage, finishing a break from Brando Va'alu, the replacement fly half.