Italy v South Africa – Round 2

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Two head coaches make plentiful changes

Nanni Raineri has made sweeping changes to the side that faces the Boks in Cape Town on Friday. With the withdrawal from action of the skipper, Sofia Stefan, Beatice Rigoni assumes the captaincy. She may well have held that honour before, but if so, I don’t recall it. In any case, she always looks to be in charge of events when the Azzurre are on the field.

Louis Koen too takes the opportunity to parade different faces; four changes to the starting XV, four on the bench. The lock, Nolusindiso Booi, extends her national record to 39 caps.

The one enforced change to the back-line concerns Micaela Samboya who suffered an HIA last weekend against Scotland. Byrhandrè Dolf takes her place on the wing.

Koen made clear to his squad from the start that everyone would have their chance during the campaign. He sees it as a great opportunity for them to raise their game against strong opponents. WXV is designed to improve player-depth. Only two of the squad took part in the one previous encounter with Italy, Booi and Tayla Kinsey, back in 2018.

Italy were pleased to come out of their Japan game with a full five points. As they went through a post-match analysis, they spotted a weakness against the clever kicks that the Sakura placed behind them. They have been working on that.

The trouble is, South Africa will present a quite different order of problems, starting up front at the set-scrum. But that is one of the delights of a series of games: you have constantly to adapt to new situations, be aware of weaknesses and seek to put them right at once.

Their biggest challenge comes at the end of the tournament, when they take on USA.

The teams


15 Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, 14 Aura Muzzo, 13 Beatrice Capomaggi, 12 Beatrice Rigoni (captain), 11 Alyssa D’Inca, 10 Veronica Madia, 9 Francesca Granzotto, 1 Silvia Turani, 2 Vittoria Vecchini, 3 Alessia Pilani, 4 Valeria Fedrighi, 5 Sara Tounesi, 6 Isabella Locatelli, 7 Alissa Ranuccini, 8 Giulia Cavina

Bench: 16 Laura Gurioli, 17 Gaia Maris, 18 Lucia Gai, 19 Alessandra Frangipani, 20 Elena Errichiello, 21 Nicole Mastrangelo, 22 Emma Stevanin, 23 Sofia Catellani

South Africa:

15 Chuma Qawe, 14 Byrhandrè Dolf, 13 Veroeshka Grain, 12 Piwokuhle Nyanda, 11 Shaunique Hess, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, 9 Tayla Kinsey, 1 Sanelisiwe Charlie, 2 Micke Gunter, 3 Babalwa Latsha (captain), 4 Nolusindiso Booi, 5 Danelle Lochner, 6 Lusanda Dumke, 7 Catha Jacobs, 8 Aseza Hele

Bench: 16 Luchell Hanekom 17 Asithandile Nyoyanto 18 Yonela Ngxingolo 19 Vainah Ubisi 20 Sinazo Mcatshulwa 21 Nompumelelo Mathe 22 Unam Tose 23 Unathi Mali

Match Details:

Friday 20 October, Athlone Stadium, Cape Town; KO 16.30 (local time, 15.30 BST)