The Springboks are under pressure as they head to Florence to take on Italy on Saturday but the Boks have a 100% record against this opposition.
Italy were trounced 68-10 by New Zealand in Rome last week and they have really struggled in 2016 with just one win in seven matches. That victory came against the USA in June but against tier one nations the Azzurri have found it tough going. They lost all of their Six Nations matches earlier this year with a 23-21 defeat to an undercooked France side in Paris being their best display. In two home games England ran in five unanswered tries in a 40-9 win in Rome and Scotland ran out 36-20 at the Olympic Stadium. Florence is the venue for this match, the first international since 2010 when Italy lost 32-14 to the Wallabies.
South African born Andries Van Schalkwyk has been named in Italy’s starting line up which includes four changes to the side which started against New Zealand last week.
Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Giulio Bisegni, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Giorgio Bronzini, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Andries van Schalkwyk, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Sami Panico
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 George Fabio Biagi, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Tommaso Boni
The Boks went down 37-21 to England at Twickenham last week with their two tries coming in the second half when the result was already beyond doubt. Although England were full value for the win South Africa contributed to their own downfall with some costly errors and Allister Coetzee is still looking for a first win overseas in 2016. The Boks have won all 12 of the previous meetings with Italy and even though they arrive in poor form, anything other than a win would be a major surprise.
On the team news front Eben Etzebeth has been ruled out with concussion sustained in the first half at Twickenham but Bryan Habana returns and Nizaam Carr also starts.
South Africa: 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 Goosen
Head to Head (Italy at home)
2014 Padua Italy 6–22 South Africa
2009 Udine Italy 10–32 South Africa
2001 Genoa Italy 26–54 South Africa
1997 Bologna Italy 31–62 South Africa
1995 Rome Italy 21–40 South Africa
Betting– click here to bet
South Africa 1 / 33
Handicap: Italy + 18.5 points, South Africa -18.5 points, at 9/10 the pair.
Suggested Bet: South Africa -18.5 points, at 9/10
South Africa will be expected to win and should they do so the manner and margin of any victory will still be heavily scrutinized. If the Boks can cut out those basic errors against a side limited in ability, they should cover this handicap.