FUKUROI CITY: South Africa ramped up the physicality to crush an Italy side reduced to 14 men for most of the second half 49-3 on Friday.
It moved them above the Italians and New Zealand to the top of Rugby World Cup Pool B.
The Springboks have never failed to reach the quarterfinals and they all but erased that possibility at this tournament with a display of controlled brutality at Shizuoka Stadium.
The ever-dangerous Cheslin Kolbe scored a try in each half and Bongi Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx also crossed to comfortably earn the twice winners a bonus point.
Italy’s already tricky task became nigh on impossible when they had prop Andrea Lovotti sent off for dropping Duane Vermeulen on his head in the 43rd minute.
Their slim hopes of progressing now rest on beating the All Blacks for the first time.