A brilliant Bryan Habana try soothed South African nerves and set up a 44-10 win over Italy in a four-nation rugby tournament Test.
After building a 20-point first-half lead, the Springboks had it halved by the hour mark at cloudy Kings Park before the veteran right-wing made his mark with a solo score.
Receiving possession inside his half, the France-bound Western Stormers star accelerated down the right wing, cut inside and scored between the posts with a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake.
Recalled fly-half Morne Steyn confirmed his goal-kicking form this season with 19 points from five conversions and three penalties as the Springboks made a five-try start to a 12-Test season.
The bonus-point victory took South Africa to the top of the table after the first round with five points, one more than Samoa, who ended a 22-year winless run against Scotland with a 23-13 triumph in the curtain-raiser.