Flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is set to start, while fullback Warrick Gelant could win his first cap from the bench against Italy on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI in Padua reports.
Allister Coetzee made it clear at the arrival press conference on Monday that he will select his strongest available side this weekend. The Boks, and especially the coaches, are under pressure to win.
That pressure will influence selections and strategy. That said, Coetzee looks set to blood at least one new player in Gelant. He may also be tempted to give Lukhanyo Am an opportunity at No 13, given Jesse Kriel’s recent struggles in the position.
Du Toit has been cleared of a concussion and should come straight back into the starting side at No 7. The versatile player will replace Siya Kolisi, who is on paternity leave, and form a back-row partnership with Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen.
For the third time on this tour, the Boks will field a different loose-trio combination.
Coetzee is unlikely to make any other unforced changes to the starting lineup. Eben Etzebeth (lower leg) and Malcolm Marx (shoulder) are expected to recover from their respective injuries.
However, should they fail late fitness tests, Franco Mostert and hooker Bongi Mbonambi will come into the starting XV, while Vermeulen will assume the captaincy. Vermeulen led the Boks after Etzebeth left the field during the latter stages of the recent clash against France.
The Bok team will be named at 16:00 SA time on Thursday.
Probable Springboks – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.
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