When the coach announced his team for the first Test on their European tour against England last weekend, Coetzee said he was going to “use this tour also to test various combinations and rotate players to ensure we move in the right direction”.
But after losing 37-21 to England, the coach is feeling the heat and failed to stick to his promise, only making changes to his run-on XV – one of which was forced with the injury to lock Eben Etzebeth.
His place will be taken by Pieter-Steph du Toit, who shifts from the side of the scrum to lock, with Nizaam Carr coming in as No.6 flanker.
Coetzee also entrusted the vice captaincy role to Bryan Habana, who comes in for JP Petersen at left wing, thereby relieving struggling pivot Pat Lambie of this duty.
Commenting on his team selection, Toetie says: “Apart from the few changes, we have gone for continuity, taking into account that this current squad have only been together for one week before the match against England.
“I would also like us to build longer periods of sustained pressure, to execute better and to convert our scoring opportunities into points.”
Coetzee again played up the opposition by insisting Italy won’t be an easy team to beat.
He explains: “Italy will be determined to bounce back after their loss to New Zealand, they have a few South Africans involved in their set-up so they understand the way we play and our mentality.
“I have said before that there is no easy Test, and we expect a tough battle…”
By selecting virtually the same side that played against England, Coetzee has made it difficult for himself to win brownie points with Bok fans as they are expected to win and do so handsomely tomorrow.