Italy makes 4 changes for South Africa after All Blacks loss
Italy coach Conor O'Shea said yesterday he has made four changes to the team that lost to New Zealand for Saturday's test against South Africa in Florence.
Benetton Treviso hooker Ornel Gega will replace the injured Leonardo Ghiraldini after the Leicester Tigers player was forced off during Saturday's 68-10 defeat in Rome with a foot injury.
Zebre prop Andrea Lovotti has also returned to his club with a rib injury, and he has been replaced by Sami Panico, who will be making his first start for Italy after four appearances as a replacement.
Zebre winger Giovanbattista Venditti and Benetton Treviso flanker Francesco Minto will replace Angelo Esposito and Maxime Mbanda.
"I think the team that played against the All Blacks deserve another opportunity," O'Shea said. "I like to work with a team at the start of the week for the whole week, (and) we have a couple of injuries such as Maxime Mbanda and Angelo Esposito. (They're) not serious but they can't play from the start. It's mentally important to know our 15 for South Africa."
The Italy replacements will be named after Thursday's training session to allow some players time to shake off slight injury worries.
Italy has lost all 12 of its previous matches it has played against South Africa.
O’Shea is a former rugby union player who played at full back and occasionally at out-half and centre for Ireland, Lansdowne and London Irish.
Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Giorgio Bronzini; Sergio Parisse (captain), Simone Favaro, Francesco Minto, Andries van Schalkwyk, Marco Fuser, Lorenzo Cittadini, Ornel Gega, Sami Panico.