Cape Town – Italian coach Conor O‘Shea has laid down warning to the Springboks, saying his side can cause an upset when the sides meet at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The Boks and Italy are grouped alongside each other in Pool B and will meet on October 4 in Fukuroi.
With the All Blacks also in the pool, Italy will in all likelihood need to beat South Africa to stand any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
It would not be the first time that has happened, of course, following Italy‘s famous 20-18 win over Allister Coetzee‘s side Florence in 2016.
“At the World Cup we absolutely must win against Namibia and Canada and then focus on the other two big challenges we have,” O‘Shea told Reuters after his side‘s commanding 85-15 win over Russia on Saturday.
“I believe that against South Africa, with this team, we can create an opportunity on our day.”
Italy, meanwhile, have already named their squad for the World Cup.
Italy squad for 2019 Rugby World Cup:
Simone Ferrari (Benetton), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton), Nicola Quaglio (Benetton), Marco Riccioni (Benetton), Federico Zani (Benetton), Luca Bigi (Zebre), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Leonardo Ghiraldini (without team), Dean Budd (Benetton), Federico Ruzza (Benetton), David Sisi (Zebre), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton), Maxime Mbanda (Zebre), Sebastian Negri (Benetton), Sergio Parisse (Toulon – capt), Jake Polledri (Gloucester), Abraham Steyn (Benetton)
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Callum Braley (Gloucester), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre), Tito Tebaldi (Benetton), Tommaso Allan (Benetton), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton), Michele Campagnaro (Harlequins), Luca Morisi (Benetton), Mattia Bellini (Zebre), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Jayden Hayward (Benetton), Matteo Minozzi (Wasps), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre)