I watched a majority second choice All Black team score 10 tries against Italy last Saturday 12th November. I watched Italy with interest because South Africa will face them this coming weekend. Italy obviously took a beating on the scoreboard but they were competitive in many facets of the game. The All Blacks are so quick to score off the smallest opportunity that it can make the score appear as if it was a major hiding which it was not.
South Africa largely believe that the Springboks will beat Italy but there are a few jitters nevertheless. This end of year tour has been a typically run Domkrag tour where the coach overplays the players he feels he depends on and has not played the players that are the future of SA Rugby. How do players get experience if the coach refuses to play them?
Damian de Allende has once again been chosen even after having a terrible season where he was nowhere during Superugby and failed to find any form right through the international season. Nothing against de Allende as he does not select himself it is his coach Allister Coetzee.
I find it odd that Allister Coetzee and Gavin Rich from Supersport picked out de Allende for praise in the England test. For that test de Allende’s stats did not stand up when compared against his direct opponent Owen Farrel. Farrel scored a try and maintained a 100% tackle success statistic for the match against the Springboks. de Allende of course never scored a try and finished with a 71.4% tackle success statistic.
We all know stats can be used to paint almost whatever picture you like. de Allende’s stats were not good but I make my judgement from what I saw in the game and de Allende was not good.
Away from the continued selection of de Allende, the team that plays Italy on Saturday is likely to be the same team barring injuries that will play Wales. Guys like Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Jamba Ulengo will go back to South Africa without gaining test experience.
I think that Italy have a big opportunity to have an historic victory against South Africa. I actually want this to happen even though I am a Springbok fan. In one respect the way AC has the team playing makes it difficult to support that way of playing. In another way if the Springboks lose to Italy surely it will mean AC will find it difficult to hang onto his job.