Ex-Lion and Springbok Andries Coetzee is set to face his old franchise side as one of six SA-born players included in Benetton’s 30-man squad for their two-match tour of South Africa.
Coetzee will return home with fellow familiar faces Rhyno Smith, Dewaldt Duvenage, Corniel Els, Irne Herbst and Carl Wegner as Marco Bortolami’s Italian side do battle with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, before taking on the Lions in Johannesburg next week.
Coetzee, who earned all of his 13 caps for the Boks in 2017, played for the Lions in Super Rugby and in the Currie Cup, while Duvenage represented the Stormers, Western Province and Boland Cavaliers.
Smith, who also starred for Pukke in the Varsity Cup, played for the Sharks and Free State Cheetahs. Herbst and Els both had stints with the Bulls, with the former having also turned out for the Southern Kings, while Wegner was a stalwart for the Cheetahs for several seasons.
Full Benetton squad:
Forwards: Simone Ferrari, Thomas Gallo, Ivan Nemer, Tiziano Pasquali, Federico Zani, Corniel Els, Giacomo Nicotera, Niccolo Cannone, Irne Herbst, Federico Ruzza, Carl Wegner, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro, Matteo Meggiato, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani. Backs: Dewaldt Duvenage, Alessandro Garbisi, Luca Petrozzi, Tomas Albornoz, Leonardo Marin, Nacho Brex, Filippo Drago, Tommaso Menoncello, Joaquin Riera, Mattia Bellini, Monty Ioane, Edoardo Padovani, Andries Coetzee, Rhyno Smith.