Springboks

Boks v Italy: The survivors from Florence

2017-11-21 08:31
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks go into Saturday's clash against Italy in Padova knowing that, just a year ago, they suffered one of the worst results in their history against the same opposition. 

That woeful night in Florence when the Boks were beaten 20-18 will go down as one of the watershed moments of the Allister Coetzee era. 

READ: Coetzee has no plans to experiment against Italy

Having already lost at home to Ireland, away to Argentina and having taken 50 points from the All Blacks in Durban, the loss to Italy ensured that Coetzee had found a way of sinking this side even lower.

At that stage, it seemed certain that the under-fire coach wouldn't see out 2016 but, somehow, he did. 

Now, with just two matches left on this northern hemisphere tour, Coetzee has an opportunity to at least set things right against the Italians this weekend, even if it isn't enough to save from the sack at the end of the year. 

He has already said that he will select his strongest possible side for this one, resisting the temptation to field the fringe players in the squad. 

But, whatever he decides to do, Coetzee will have a vastly different looking team from the one that was embarrassed in Florence. 

Of the players in the starting line-up that day, only SIX are in the current squad. 

It shows how much things have changed in a year, and while some of those absentees are down to injury, a lot of them are simply down to Coetzee losing faith in certain players. 

Francois Venter, Damian de Allende, Rudy Paige, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Tendai Mtawarira are the only players in Coetzee's current squad who started that day. 

On the bench, though, the Boks had Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Oupa Mohoje and Elton Jantjies - all players currently with the Bok touring party. 

Regardless of what side Coetzee puts out on Saturday, it should have too much individual quality for Italy. 

But, that was also the case last year, and we all know what happened then.

Kick-off is at 15:00 (SA time).

Springboks v Italy in 2016:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Lood de jager, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Johan 

Read more on:    italy  |  springboks  |  allister coetzee  |  rugby

 

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