World champions South Africa secured their first win of the Autumn Nations Series on Saturday with a 63-21 thrashing of Italy but their captain Siya Kolisi warned that winning once "is not enough, we have to keep doing it".
The Springboks scored nine tries in Genoa, including two for winger Kurt-Lee Arendse, for what turned out to be a runaway win.
But they were made to work hard in the first half, which saw them leading by just 18-13, by an Italian team that was coming off the back of an historic win over Australia last Saturday and was dreaming of a repeat of their shock victory over the Boks in Florence in 2016.
“We showed Italy the respect that they deserve and, as I said on Friday, they’re a very different team to a few years ago," said Kolisi.
“We knew we had to play to the best of our ability, and it was clear by how tight the first half was. We had to dig deep.
"As South Africans we are used to facing adversity and we knew we had to lift ourselves."
For the Boks, it was the best possible response to their two narrow defeats to Ireland (19-16) and France (30-26).
"It was very important for us to get a win today," said Kolisi.
“As a team we want to play well, score tries, offload and put people away, and we enjoyed the game today. We also enjoy the physical part of the game, and to get that balance right was important.
"That said, doing this once is not enough, we have to keep doing it.
“The last two games were very close, but I believe we are heading in the right direction.”
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber echoed Kolisi's thoughts.
“We certainly all want to see the team moving forward in this direction," he said.
"Today we capitalised on the opportunities we created, but I don't think it was a near perfect performance. We can always get better."
The visitors made a quick start with Arendse going over in the corner in just the second minute.
Italy fly-half Tommaso Allan and Cheslin Kolbe exchanged penalties in a frenetic opening 10 minutes before the hosts took the lead with a wonderful jinking try from full-back Ange Capuozzo - his fifth try in just seven Tests.
Allan converted for 10-8 and added a penalty in the 21st minute to extend their lead to five points.
Kolbe replied with a penalty and then converted hooker Bongi Mbonambi's 12th international try to make it 18-13 at the break.
- 'We need consistency' -
Allan got the first points of the second period slotting over a penalty but the Boks struck back with a vengeance as they ran in three tries in the space of 10 minutes.
Kolbe got the first of them but then limped off with an unspecified injury that may put him at risk for next week's Test against England at Twickenham.
Arendse, with his second, and Kwagga Smith both touched down and with Manie Libbock taking over kicking duties, the lead had suddenly extended to 37-16.
Replacement hooker Malcolm Marx added another try as the Springboks disappeared over the horizon.
The hosts showed spirit with Lorenzo Cannone, one of two brothers in the team, going over but the Boks were in irrepressible form, running in another three tries through Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse and Cobus Reinach.
"The work the guys have put in over the last month in terms of where we want to be heading into 2023 is great," said Nienaber.
"The players are taking ownership and we are building.
“But as Siya said, one good game isn't good enough. We need to get consistency.
"The challenge, of course, is when things don't always go your way, to dig yourself out of it and try to get consistency.”
The Springboks will get a chance to test their consistency when they run out at Twickenham next week.