Azzurri have 'new' plan for Boks

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:02
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IN THE PADOVA SPOTLIGHT: Italy won't have the wile of Brendan Venter in their corner this time around, but they still believe they have the beating of South Africa.

Venter, who helped mastermind the Springboks' 18-20 loss to the Azzurri in Florence last year, has declined to help either side this coming Saturday.

Despite being a close ally and ever-present to Bok coach Allister Coetzee this year, Venter returned to his medical practice.

As he told rugby365 earlier this year, he will continue on a consultancy basis with both Azzurri and the Boks - except when they play each other.

Despite the absence of Venter, the Italians believe they can repeat last year's historic win against South Africa.

Veteran hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini spoke of the need to match the Boks physically to ensure victory.

"Against South Africa, it will be a very physical challenge," the 32-year-old said.

"We must be as precise as possible and trust our game plan," he said, adding that the failure to remain true to the cause is what resulted in a 15-31 loss to Argentina last week - after opening their November campaign with a 19-10 win over Fiji.

Ghiraldini, who hails from Padova and lives just five minutes from the team hotel, said it will be a "nice feeling" to play for the national team in front of his family.

"We will play against some of the best players in the world," he said, adding: "Our goal is to remain on top of our game, regardless of the challenges posed by our opponents."

@rugby365com