Boks see Italy game as Tri­Na­tions trial

Weekend Witness - - Trucks & Trucking -

EAST LONDON — It would come as a ma­jor sur­prise if Italy should come even close to beat­ing the Spring­boks in the sec­ond Test in East London to­day in a match the Spring­boks will un­doubt­edly use as fi­nal match prepa­ra­tion for the de­fence of their Tri-Na­tions ti­tle.

The Boks leave for Aus­trala­sia next week­end to play the All Blacks (on June 10 in Auck­land and on July 17 in Welling­ton) and the Wal­la­bies (in Bris­bane on July 24).

Italy, who were very com­pet­i­tive in the first Test where they were par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive at the break­downs, have taken note that the Boks aim to be more ac­cu­rate in their ex­e­cu­tion and gen­eral play.

“We read that the Spring­bok coach is not happy with last week’s per­for­mance, and we know it will be more dif­fi­cult,” said Italy for­ward coach Carlo Or­landi.

The vis­i­tors have nev­er­the­less made nine changes to the side — seven of them in the pack that did so well last Satur­day — while the Spring­boks’ team changes have gen­er­ally strength­ened the side af­ter a num­ber of play­ers were rested last week­end.

It is a match in which the Boks will try and play to their true po­ten­tial.

It is also a Test in which those play­ers that have not con­vinced coach De Vil­liers of their po­ten­tial get the last chance to do so.

All 26 play­ers for the Tri-Na­tions tour should come from the play­ers used in the last two Tests, with the ex­cep­tion of Danie Ros­souw and Fran­cois Hougaard. Ros­souw was rested last week­end and with­drew with in­jury this week­while Hougaard­was­not­con­sid­ered for any of the four Test teams se­lected to date. To­day, ex­pect the Boks to again scrum well. They re­alise that they now have a com­mand­ing strength in the front row, where it was a weak­ness last year. John Smit, now at hooker where he be­longs, and loose­head Gurtrho Steenkamp have made a dif­fer­ence, and tight­head Jan­nie du Plessis has shown his value af­ter at last get­ting an ex­tended run. The Boks also have a few new per­mu­ta­tions of loose for­wards in the squad who will be out to con­trol pos­ses­sion and there­fore give their for­wards more go-for­ward mo­men­tum.

The Boks will play a more con­ser­va­tive and more cor­rect game with a view to get their in­ter­play right af­ter last week­end. They will try to keep the ball in hand and sup­port well. Morné Steyn will play the pat­tern he’s so good at and the vis­i­tors will be ground down in Bulls fashion that has largely also be­come the Boks’ ap­proach. The 26-man team, to be an­nounced af­ter to­day’s Test, will prob­a­bly not dif­fer much from the fol­low­ing:

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