2019 Rugby World Cup: South Africa vs Italy Preview

South Africa will face Italy in a must-win Pool B match for both teams on Friday at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture in Shizuoka. Kickoff is at 18:45 local (05:45 ET). The match may be viewed in the U.S. on NBCSN or on-demand on NBC Sports Gold and on and TSN channels 1 and 4 in Canada.

South Africa

Rassie Erasmus has made ten changes from the starting XV against Namibia for the match against Italy on Friday in what could decide who qualifies for the knockout rounds.

The front row has changed with Tendai Mtawarira at loosehead prop, Frans Malherbe at tighthead, and Bongi Mbonambi, who had two tries in the last match, retained at hooker. Lood de Jager is at lock and pairs with Eben Etzebeth.  The back row is the same that started against New Zealand, with captain Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit the flankers and Duane Vermeulen at No.8.

Erasmus also picked a forward-heavy bench, with only two backline replacements in scrumhalf, Herschel Jantjies, and utility back Francois Steyn.

Italy has only beaten the Springboks once before, in a shock 20-18 win in Firenze in November 2016. South Africa is taking nothing for granted in this important clash.


Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea has Sergio Parisse returning as captain for the Azzuri at No.8. He will play in his 15th Rugby World Cup match, becoming Italy’s record RWC appearance maker. In winning his 142nd cap, he surpasses Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll’s 141. Only New Zealand’s Richie McCaw, with 148, has more.

Parisse will be flanked by Braam Steyn and Jake Polledri for their match against South Africa.

Michele Campagnaro, moves from center to the left-wing, with Tommaso Benvenuti retained on the right.

Jayden Hayward starts again at inside-center and is partnered by Luca Morisi, while Matteo Minozzi keeps the No.15 jersey.


South Africa: 1 Tendai Mtawarira 2 Bongi Mbonambi 3 Frans Malherbe 4 Eben Etzebeth 5 Lood de Jager 6 Siya Kolisi (capt.) 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 8 Duane Vermeulen 9 Faf de Klerk 10 Handré Pollard 11 Makazole Mapimpi 12 Damian de Allende 13 Lukhanyo Am 14 Cheslin Kolbe 15 Willie le Roux 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 RG Snyman 20 Franco Mostert 21 Francois Louw 22 Herschel Jantjies 23 Frans Steyn

Italy: 1. Andrea Lovotti 2. Luca Bigi 3. Simone Ferrari 4. David Sisi 5. Dean Budd 6. Braam Steyn 7. Jake Polledri 8. Sergio Parisse (capt.) 9. Tito Tebaldi 10. Tommaso Allan 11. Michele Campagnaro 12. Jayden Hayward 13. Luca Morisi 14. Tommaso Benvenuti 15. Matteo Minozzi 16. Federico Zani 17. Nicola Quaglio 18. Marco Riccioni 19. Alessandro Zanni 20. Federico Ruzza 21. Sebastian Negri 22. Callum Braley 23. Carlo Canna

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant