We had two fairly one sided matches on day twelve, with Fiji and Ireland taking easy wins over Georgia and Russia. Day thirteen slows up with just one match for the day that will see South Africa up against Italy from Pool B.
South Africa vs Italy – Pool B
The Springboks have returned to almost their favoured starting fifteen for this important match against Italy. The front row is the only area getting mixed up from the match against the All Blacks with Tendai Mtawarira, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe getting the starting places. The rest of the side is full strength which will invite an extremely exciting backrow battle between the two sides with captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Duane Vermeulen set to be unleashed again. In the backline its all firepower and you can expect a lot of good ball to be going to the dynamic Cheslin Kolbe on the right wing, provided Damian De Allende can pass or get skipped out. With Jesse Kriel out of the World Cup, the number 23 shirt goes to Frans Steyn who caps off a very strong bench, especially in the forwards. While you can never discount the chances of an upset, it would be extremely unlikely South Africa will be looking past this match after the loss to the All Blacks. Win this one and the Quarter Finals are secure.
The only way I can see Italy managing to wrestle anything out of this match is by brute force, not something teams often get away with against South Africa who are normally the enforcers. There is only one area of the field this side will be able to launch any attack from and that is their back row. Braam Steyn, the fantastic Jake Polledri and icon Sergio Parisse will be the main outlet for Italy. The rest of the side just need to tackle and keep hold of the ball any chance they get. It’s tough to look at any of these matchups and see an Italian with an advantage. Tommaso Allan will be instructed to kick any points on offer and playing to the penalties will be the plan. If they do get any ball into the backs, Matteo Minozzi will be the spark to look for. He has the ability to break the line but against the Springboks he will be tested massively in defence and under the high ball. Michele Campagnaro, normally in midfield, will start on the left wing, a clear selection for more solidarity in defence. Kick to corners, play territory, force errors and one out rugby for the back row, should be the Italian gameplan in a nutshell. Will it rumble the Springboks? Unlikely, but it’s the best shot they have.
RESULT = South Africa by 18
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