Saturday, November 21, 2009

Test Match: Italy Can Expect Backlash from South Africans

South Africa v Italy in Udine

Venue: Stadio Friuli

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

South Africa is yet to win a game on its northern tour. They have lost to Leicester and Saracens in mid-week games, and then lost to France last weekend. They are a position whereby a loss against Italy would give the team one of the poorest performances in Europe.

Italy can expect the South Africans to play a determined game, to erase the failures they've experienced on tour so far.

Never far from controversy, another below-par performance from South Africa, however, will have the memories forgetting the Tri Nations success for 2009, and the knives out for the South African coach

2009 Peter De Villiers
Peter de Villiers could well have the fingers pointing at him again. Image thanks to

But can Italy win? They were dominant in the forwards against the All Blacks last weekend. The Italian pack would have to be one of the strongest in the world. It in the backs where they come unstuck. Coach Nik Mallett has made changes in the backline, still searching for combinations that will test the opposition defence. To date they have registered nil in that area. It's in this area that the better organised South Africans will eventually succeed. History is against Italy. Twenty-six points is the closest they've got to South Africa in the last ten years. Perhaps Saturday will see them get the closest ever.

Last Five Encounters
21.06.2008 South Africa 26-0 in Capetown
17.11.2001 South Africa 54-26 in Genoa
30.06.2001 South Africa 60-14 in Port Elizabeth
19.06.1999 South Africa 101-0 in Durban
12.06.1999 South Africa 74-3 in Port Elizabeth

GWC Rugby Rankings: South Africa 2nd, Italy 10th

Prediction: South Africa by 13 points.


15 Luke McLean
14 Matteo Pratichetti
13 Alberto Sgarbi
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Mirco Bergamasco
10 Craig Gower
9 Simon Picone
8 Sergio Parisse, Capt.
7 Alessandro Zanni
6 Simone Favaro
5 Quintin Geldenhuys
4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
2 Fabio Ongaro
1 Salvatore Perugini
16 Leonardo Ghiraldini
17 Ignacio Rouyet
18 Antonio Pavanello
19 Josh Sole
20 Mauro Bergamasco
21 Tito Tebaldi
22 Gonzalo Canale
Head Coach: Nik Mallett


South Africa
15 Zane Kirchner (Blue Bulls)
14 JP Pietersen (Natal Sharks)
13 Jaque Fourie (Golden Lions)
12 Adi Jacobs (Natal Sharks)
11 Bryan Habana (Western Stormers)
10 Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls)
9 Fourie du Preez (Blue Bulls)
8 Ryan Kankowski (Natal Sharks)
7 Danie Rossouw (Blue Bulls)
6 Heinrich Brussow (Free State Cheetahs)
5 Andries Bekker (Western Stormers)
4 Bakkies Botha (Blue Bulls)
3 John Smit, Capt. (Natal Sharks)
2 Adriaan Strauss (Free State Cheetahs)
1 Wian du Preez (Free State Cheetahs)
16 Tendai Mtawarira (Natal Sharks)
17 BJ Botha (Ulster, Ireland)
18 Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls)
19 Jean Deysel (Natal Sharks)
20 Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls)
21 Ruan Pienaar (Natal Sharks)
22 Wynand Olivier (Blue Bulls)
Head Coach: Peter de Villiers

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