What might turn out to be Italian rugby’s finest hour against the Springboks in Florence on Saturday, can turn out to be the final nail in the coffin for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
Heading into the game, the Springboks are overwhelming favourites.
But such has been their performances of late, that a number of teams have enjoyed first-time wins over the once-mighty Springboks.
Argentina did so in 2015, and then Japan shocked the rugby world in the opening game of last year’s World Cup by beating the Bokke.
Then, in Coetzee’s first Test in charge of the Boks, Ireland got the better of them with 14 men on the park for the first time ever in Mzansi.
Last weekend, England claimed their maiden win in a decade over the Springboks, and while they haven’t
tasted success against the Green and Gold, Italy will fancy their chances.
And they’ve got a special weapon to help them do it.
Brendan Venter, who was the key facilitator in the SA Rugby Indaba for coaches before the Boks left for the UK, is helping Italy with their defence during the November internationals.
Knowing the Springboks in and out, Venter will come up with ways to disrupt Coetzee’s one-dimensional attacking game and this might prove costly for Toetie as Italy has never beaten the Boks in 12 attempts.
South Africa will be desperate for a win after not yet having tasted success in the UK.
Not only will Coetzee be under pressure to hold on to his job, but they need a clear overhaul of their approach to the game.
And the man that facilitated the plans for a major overhaul is waiting for his prey at the other end.
It will be a good test for Coetzee in terms of how he can think on his feet – something we haven’t seen much of during his time as head coach of the Boks.
But with Venter at the other end, it might even show Toetie how predictable he is, making this a much tougher assignment than what it should have been.