Coetzee revamps back row

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has selected Nizaam Carr at openside flank and Bryan Habana on the wing ahead of the Test against Italy in Florence on Saturday.

Following the poor performance against England, Coetzee has opted to make several changes to his pack. Carr is selected at No 6 and will win his first Test start this Saturday. Willem Alberts moves to blindside flank, and Pieter-Steph du Toit reverts to the second row to offset the loss of Eben Etzebeth.

'Pieter-Steph has an impressive work rate and I am expecting him to deliver the same at No 4 against a lively Italian pack of forwards,' said Coetzee on Thursday. 'With him moving to lock, we felt Nizaam was the right person to start in the No 6 jersey as he did well when he came off the bench against England. Apart from his speed, he also makes the right decisions at the breakdown.

'Our set piece is operating very nicely at the moment and we were outstanding in the scrums and lineouts last week. However, we must improve in other areas because we had several soft moments at Twickenham, which we got punished for.'

Habana has returned from a knee injury, and will start on the left wing. JP Pietersen has dropped out of the match 23. Trevor Nyakane, Teboho Mohoje and Elton Jantjies have been included on the bench.

'Although they played together for the first time as a combination, I thought that our midfield pairing of Damian de Allende and Francois Venter performed well last week,' said Coetzee. 'They will improve as a combination by playing together.

'Apart from the few changes, we have gone for continuity, taking into account that this current squad have only been together for one week before the match against England. I would also like us to build longer periods of sustained pressure, to execute better and to convert our scoring opportunities into points.

'Italy will be determined to bounce back after their loss to New Zealand, they have a few South Africans involved in their set-up, so they understand the way we play and our mentality. I have said before that there is no easy Test, and we expect a tough battle on Saturday from Italy.'

Meanwhile, prop Tendai Mtawarira will play in his 90th match in the Springbok jersey and will earn his 86th Test cap for South Africa.

The Test between the two sides will be staged at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, a football stadium in Florence, and it will be the first time that South Africa will play at this venue.

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Johan Goosen.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli