Mallet names side to face Boks

Italy coach Nick Mallett named two new inside backs in his starting lineup on Wednesday for Saturday’s one-off test against world champions South Africa.

Calvisano’s Luke McLean and Gonzalo Garcia will combine at flyhalf and inside centre while Viadana prop Ignacio Rouyet and Cariparma wing Riccardo Pavan have been named among the replacements.

“It’s not ideal for a young Italian development side to play the world champions,” Mallett told a news conference.

“But the challenge is to make sure that whatever happens, however many tries get scored, that the team puts that try behind them and play as hard as they can for the next 10 minutes. If we have enough players who do that I’ll be proud.”

The former South Africa coach said he had to be realistic.

“If you’re coaching South Africa and you don’t win the World Cup, it’s a disappointment. But if you’re coaching a weaker team, your objectives are different,” he said.

“You want to make your team a team that is respected and a team that can, on a good day, pull off a win against one of the better sides.

Italy have lost seven of their top eight props through injury while captain Sergio Parisse and centres Mirco Bergamasco and Gonzalo Canale are still involved with their French clubs.

South Africa have won each of their six tests against the Italians. The Springboks won the last encounter 54-26 in Genoa in 2001.

Italy: 15-Andrea Marcato, 14-Kaine Robertson, 13-Andrea Masi, 12-Gonzalo Garcia, 11-Matteo Pratichetti, 10-Luke McLean, 9-Simon Picone, 8-Josh Sole, 7-Robert Barbieri, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 5-Carlo Del Fava, 4-Santiago Dellape, 3-Carlos Nieto, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1-Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16-Fabio Ongaro, 17-Ignacio Rouyet, 18-Jaco Erasmus, 19-Tommaso Reato, 20-Pablo Canavosio, 21-Enrico Patrizio, 22-Riccardo Pavan.