Conor O’Shea rings changes for Italy ahead of South Africa clash

Conor O’Shea rings changes for Italy ahead of South Africa clash

Italian head coach Conor O'Shea has made four changes from the side hammered 68-10 by the All Blacks for the Test against South Africa in Florence, writes Gavin Spillane.

Grizzled front-rowers Leonardo Ghiraldini and Andrea Lovotti both suffered injury in Rome and have been replaced by Treviso's Ornel Gega and Calvisano's Sami Panico respectively for the clash with the Springboks while Francesco Minto takes over from Maxime Mbanda in the backrow.

In the backline, juggernaut winger Giovanbattista Venditti will look to punch holes in the South African defence as he comes in to replace Angelo Esposito on the left wing.

A new-look Italy side face a huge test in the form of Allister Coetzee’s side, but the head coach has been under pressure following comprehensive losses to New Zealand and England in recent times, as well as a 31-31 draw with the Barbarians in Wembley.

Irishman O'Shea refused to berate his players after the heavy defeat at the hands of the All Blacks and insisted his long-term plan will see the misfiring Azzurri back to winning ways.

"I'm looking forward to playing South Africa. For me, the glass is always half-full. If we stick to our plan, the results will follow. If we don't, they won't."

The 'Boks will name their starting XV on Thursday.

Italy: E Padovani; G Bisegni, T Benvenuti, L McLean, G Venditti; C Canna, G Bronzini; S Panico, O Gega, L Cittadini; 4 M Fuser, A Van Schalkwyk; F Minto, S Favaro, S Parisse (c).


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