Saturday, June 26, 2010

RUGBY TEST: Italy to Battle the Box

Italy v South Africa in East London

Venue: ABSA Stadium

Referee: Andrew Small (England)

The wandering Springbox road show enters another provincial town. Forced (well agreeably) out of the major rugby sporting venues whilst the soccer world is being held, the Springbox arrive in the Border provincial town of East London.

The last time South Africa played a test match in East London was when they dismantled Uruguay 134-3 back in 2005. Uruguay has never returned not surprisingly. Hopefully this is not a bad omen for the Italians. I suspect it may be!

Both coaches have made a number of changes to their sides from last week. With the World Cup a little over a year away it is important for sides to broaden their playing strength.

Italy has certainly taken that step in this match. It may be a risk but coach Nik Mallett obviously has the future in mind when naming this side.

The South Africans laboured in their 29-13 win last weekend. There is a more settled and experienced look about this week's side.With the Tri Nations just around the corner Pieter de Villers sees the time has come to stop experimenting. The South Africans will be motivated to secure places in this side whilst Italy will suffer with an experienced side, especially up front where they can usually match an opposition.

Last Five Encounters
19.06.2010 South Africa 29-13 in Witbank
21.11.2009 South Africa 32-10 in Udine
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

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 2nd, Italy 10th
IRB Rankings-South Africa 2nd (89.46), Italy 11th (72.97)

Prediction: South Africa by 50 points



South Africa
G Aplon (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province), J Fourie (Stormers), J de Jongh (Stormers), B Habana (Stormers), M Steyn (Blue Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers), G Steenkamp (Blue Bulls), J Smit, Capt (Natal Sharks), J du Plessis (Natal Sharks), B Botha (Blue Bulls), A Bekker (Stormers), S Burger (Stormers), F Louw (Stormers), P Spies (Blue Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), BJ Botha (Ulster, Ireland), F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), D Potgieter (Blue Bulls), R Pienaar (Natal Sharks), B James (Bath, England), W Oliver (Blue Bulls)
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers


L McLean (Benetton Treviso), M Sepe (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont Auvergne, France), A Masi (Racing Metro, France), M Bergamasco (Racing Metro, France), C Gower (Bayonne, France), S Picone (Benetton Treviso), S Perugini (Bayonne, France), F Ongaro (Saracens, England), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), C del Fava (Viadana), M Bortolami (Gloucester, England), M Vosawai (Banca Monte Parma), P Derbyshire (Petrarca Padova), S Parisse, Capt. (Stade Francais, France)
Replacements: L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), F Sbaraglini (Benetton Treviso), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), T Tebaldi (Gran Parma), R Bocchino (Rovigo), M Pratichetti (Viadana)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

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