The Springboks before their match against Italy. (Photo by Roberto Bregani/Gallo Images)
- Former Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie believes South Africa will bounce back against a resurgent Italian side in Genoa on Saturday.
- The Springboks have yet to secure a win in their opening two year-end Tests and face an in-form Italy this weekend.
- Lambie knows what it’s like to be on the losing side against Italy, but he’s backing this Springbok team to get the job done.
in the city of the sun
Former Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie believes South Africa can bounce back but admits it won’t be easy against a ‘struggling’ Italian team.
Jacques Nienaber’s side have had a disappointing tour so far after losing their first two year-end tests against Ireland (19-16) and France (30-26).
The Springboks face a resurgent Italian side, who defeated Samoa (49-17) and then put on an impressive display last weekend to beat the Wallabies 28-27.
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Lambie was part of the Springboks’ only loss against the Italians in Florence in 2016 when they fell 20-18.
And while South Africa still boasts a favorable record against Italy, Lambie insists the Springboks have the team to push the line and win their first European Test.
“Italy are never an easy team to play away from home. Last time in particular the game was under control and it certainly felt that way on the pitch in 50-60 minutes,” Lambie said at the Gary on Friday. and the Vivienne Player Invitational in Sun City.
“Then it goes one way or another where you get away or get a little bit of momentum and suddenly it’s going to be a tight game. And that was tough last time. So hopefully the players are mentally prepared for that. There will be a fight, they are not going to lie down and leave.
“You know it could be well into the second half before there’s any breathing room. Although I haven’t seen the team, the team we have is really strong… We could pick any one of them, but I’m sure they’re going to to be able to do the work for us.
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The reigning World Cup champions have not had the end-of-year tour they had hoped for and with off-field issues dominating the headlines, a win is needed this weekend.
Lambie, who was forced to retire early due to concussion problems in 2019, believes the Springboks will win again in Genoa with a showdown at Twickenham in the offing.
“Yes, I have to be honest, I haven’t seen every minute of the two Tests so far,” said Lambie, who played 56 Tests for the Springboks.
“I’ve seen highlights and heard some comments here and there, but look, we’ve played against the best and second best teams in the world in their stadiums and we’ve been really competitive.
“Small margins and we could have easily won those two Test matches. So I expect this weekend to be a strong rebound and confidence-building game against Italy.”
“Where we maybe iron out some individual mistakes and make sure we’re on the right side of the scoreboard when the final whistle blows.”
Lambie will participate in the Sunshine Tour’s Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational event at the Lost City Golf Course in Sun City on Saturday and Sunday.
The Springboks take on Italy on Saturday at 15:00 SA time.
15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Substitutes: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 David Sisi, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Edoardo Padovani, 23 Tommaso Menoncello
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Evan Roos, 22 Cobus Reinach, 23 Manie Libbok