Du Toit inspires Boks to great win
This was a Springbok show hard-baked in the furnace of resolve and resilience.
It was possibly South Africa's best performance under coach Allister Coetzee.
Enthralling? It was not. Heart-warming? Definitely yes.
The Springboks absorbed biting cold, the gentle but inexorably soaking rain and a fired-up Italy team. They warmed to their task and played with a level of control and coherence rarely displayed this season.
To be fair, there were some encouraging signs at the Stade de France last weekend.
In the build-up the Boks had tried to avoid talk of retribution for last year's sins. There was none of Florence. If anything, this match carried the hallmarks of the Springboks' ruthless 28-0 deconstruction of Scotland in 2013.Yes, Italy have been poor with a solitary win over Fiji all they have to show since they vanquished the Boks a year ago, but the visitors still had to face up to a determined and pretty passionate home side.
They needed to front up to the physical confrontation and captain Eben Etzebeth's "speak softly while carrying a big stick" policy paid off this week.
The biggest stick they prodded Italy with came in the unrelenting shape of flank Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Flankers Du Toit and Francois Louw were immense, Duane Vermeulen, as eighthman, stood tall when he needed to but to be fair, the entire Bok pack deserve kudos.
Du Toit, however, was quite remarkable. He delivered a towering performance, carrying the ball with bone-jarring ferocity into the Azzurris, while they felt the same impact in the embrace of his tackle.