Saturday, June 19, 2010

TEST RUGBY: Italians Have Hard Task in South Africa

Italy v South Africa in Witbank

Venue: Puma Stadium

Referee: Andrew Small (England)

International test rugby arrives in this provincial capital for the first time. With South Africa awash with the happenings over the oval ball game, and the South Africa RU evacuating their main stadiums, South Africa rugby has taken this, and the next test, to provincial capitals.

South Africa has been in great form so far in 2010. After an average Northern tour last November they came back with a good win over Wales and then, last weekend, an excellent victory over the French. Even with 11 changes in the side from last weekend, South Africa should continue this winning run. It bodes well for their chances at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 when a team can win with many changes in the lineups.

Italy has their forward pack. It will take a huge South African effort to overcome what is probably the world's best scrummaging unit. Even at the breakdown Italy has the return of their world class No.8 and captain Parisse. It will be in the backs where Italy will struggle and their defensive systems will be tested by a bigger, more mobile South African backline.

Last Five Encounters
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
19.06.1999 South Africa 101-0 in Durban

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 20 points



South Africa
Z Kirchner (Blue Bulls); G Aplon (Stormers), J de Villiers (Western Province), B James (Bath, England), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Blue Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers); G Steenkamp (Blue Bulls), C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), J du Plessis (Natal Sharks), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield, Capt.(Blue Bulls), F Louw (Stormers), D Potgieter (Blue Bulls), P Spies (Blue Bulls)
Replacements: B Maku (Blue Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Free State Cheetahs), A Hargreaves (Natal Sharks), R Kankowski (Natal Sharks), R Pienaar (Natal Sharks), J de Jongh (Stormers), B Basson (Free State Cheetahs)
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers


L McLean (Benetton Treviso), K Robertson (Viadana), A Masi (Racing Metro, France), M Pratichetti (Viadana), M Bergamasco (Racing Metro, France), C Gower (Bayonne, France), T Tebaldi (Banca Monte Parma), S Perugini (Bayonne, France), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester, England), V Bernabo (Roma), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), S Favaro (Banca Monte Parma), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso), S Parisse, Capt. (Stade Francais,France),
Replacements: F Ongaro (Saracens, England), L Cittadini (Benetton Treviso), M Bortolami (Gloucester, England), P Derbyshire (Padova), S Picone (Benetton Treviso), R Bocchino (Rovigo), G Canale (Clermont Auvergne, France)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

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