O'Shea speechless after South Africa rout
REACTION: Italy's normally talkative Irish coach Conor O'Shea conceded he was speechless after South Africa ran in five tries to crush Italy 35-6 and avenge last year's historic defeat.
Allister Coetzee's Springboks outplayed Italy on all levels with the Azzurri managing just two penalties under the rain in the north-eastern town of Padua, not far from Venice.
It was the first visit to Italy by Coetzee's side since their 18-20 defeat in Florence in November 2016 - their first loss ever to Italy.
"It's always very difficult to describe a game like that. We just have to say that South Africa were better than us today," said O'Shea.
"It is difficult to find the right words. However, I am happy that in the coming years we will have a team that is of the same level."
South Africa led 21-6 at the break in the Euganeo Stadium with tries from Francois Louw, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Francois Venter.
Steven Kitshoff and Francois Mostert touched down two more after the break, with man of the match Handre Pollard converting four and replacement Elton Jantjies adding the fifth conversion.
"Rugby is always a matter of field energy, and today South Africa had more than us," continued the former Harlequins coach with flyhalf Carlo Canna the scorer of Italy's two penalties.
"The South African players are very strong and it was difficult to counter them.
"At this time, the keyword must be resilience in the face of defeat. With this group we are going through an incredible journey and we want to make the difference in the future with a growing team depth."
Captain Sergio Parisse added: "In the second half it was particularly difficult to move the ball and we clashed in front of a very dense and compact defensive South Africa, but this is certainly not a justification for us.
"We will see at the end of the World Cup where we will be, to date with Conor and the guys we are convinced that we are on the right track."
It is the second straight defeat for Italy after losing 15-31 to Argentina in Florence last weekend.
The Italians had ended a series of nine consecutive losses going back to their win over South Africa by winning their opening November Test against Fiji 19-10 in Sicily.
Under O'Shea - who took over in March 2016 - Italy have won only four of 22 Tests and three of those were against tier-two nations.