Marx 'rested' for Italy showdown

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:52
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Bongi Mbonambi will make his first start for the Springboks against Italy in Padova on Saturday.

Pieter-Steph du Toit also returns to the starting team for the Boks' third Test in of their year-end tour.

Furthermore, the uncapped Warrick Gelant has been included on the bench and will make his Springbok debut should he go onto the field.

The Springbok management decided not to risk Malcolm Marx for this weekend’s match, following the shoulder injury he sustained last week against France.

This means Mbonambi, who has 12 Test caps to his name, will earn his first start on Saturday.

Chiliboy Ralepelle will join Gelant on the bench.

Du Toit is fit again and picked at flank, where he replaces Siya Kolisi - who is not available for this match because of the birth of his second child.

The versatile Du Toit suffered concussion two weeks ago against Ireland and, as a result, he missed the Springbok victory over France in Paris.

The rest of the team that edged the French in the Stade de France in the previous outing is retained.

"We decided not to risk Malcolm, which means Bongi will get a well-deserved first start in the No.2 jersey," Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said.

"Bongi has worked hard and I have no doubt he will grab this opportunity with both hands, as will Chiliboy, should he get a run.

"Warrick is in good form and his work-rate during training has been impressive. I know he will add value and I am very excited about the possibility of seeing him in action."

Coetzee said the Italians will pose a difficult challenge at home.

"We respect the Italian side, they are well coached and I know they will be up for the challenge. However, we focus on ourselves and a disciplined and clinical performance is what is needed this weekend.

"It would be important for our pack to again create a good platform of which to play from and therefore our set piece will be key in the expected wet conditions," said Coetzee.

Eben Etzebeth will again lead the Springboks after the big lock has shrugged off a lower leg injury, which he suffered in Paris.

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT; 16.00 SA time)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)