Springboks vs Italy – 26 June 2010 Preview
Another Test against Italy… I guess so, if we have to.
Last week, the Italians came back well in the second half and showed pleanty of guts, passion and heart to out score the Bokke in the second half but still lost by 16 points.
I have to say that I thought Andrew Small looked way out of his depth throughout the game. Let’s just say that the difference in class between the Northern and Southern hemispheres is not just restricted to the quality of the players. If you know what I mean and I am sure that you do (I mean they have really average refs).
However I would not say that our uninspiring performance was the ref’s fault. We simply looked like we had a bad day at the office and I think it will be a good wake up call ahead of the Tri-Nations.
Some of the fringe players really put their hands up, with Chilliboy again playing well at hooker and Jean de Villiers starting to get his groove back. Dewald Potgieter and Jannie Du Plessis were solid without being spectacular.
Gurthro Steenkamp on the other hand (Darren) had a blinder. He completely out scrummed the more fancied Castrogiovanni to the point where the Italian caveman had to leave the field injured. Gurthro just smiled.
Unfortunately Butch James reminded us that he is still a walking yellow card. Maybe he needs more time in his preferred position of flyhalf but he looked toothless on attack and shoulder charge happy on defense. In my opinion, unless he improves dramatically this week, he offers us very little looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup.
On to this week and the team selected is looking close to the one that should start in the 3N. John Smit is back after injury, sporting a short new hair style and Jaque Fourie and Schalk Burger are back in the team after a week of rest and injury respectively.
For Jaque this probably meant tackling cars and running through walls. Schalk of course had a sprained ankle so he more than likely just bench-pressed some buses.
Pieter de Villiers is giving Aplon a chance at fullback and although I see the value in this, I would prefer to have him on the wing, with Frans Steyn given another shot at fullback. His long-range kicking is surely a must for the 3N.
Danie Rossouw injured himself in training, so Flip Van Der Merwe is on the bench with Andries Bekker getting a start after sitting out the last few weeks with a foot injury (You magazine scandal). Juan De Jongh gets another chance to start with Wynand Olivier on the bench.
Nick Mallett shaved off his hair this week as he said he would if the Italians lost by less than 20 points. I shudder to think what he would shave if they actually beat us. This week though I see the Bokke making up for the errors from last week and I will be surprised if they do not win by at least 30 points.
Venue: East London
Prediction: Bokke by 32