Viljoen worries about rain
Springbok coach Harry Viljoen admitted on Friday that the expected wet weather conditions would suit the Italians ahead of their one-off Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Viljoen said the fact that the Italians have a Kiwi coach would stand them in good stead should the heavens open. But Viljoen stopped short of sounding over-cautious, saying that the Boks would just have to alter their game plan slightly.
The main focus of concern for the hosts will not come from above though - but rather from within - within the battle for tight five supremacy.
Both Viljoen and new Bok skipper Bob Skinstad said that the main Italian impetus would come from their scrums.
"I expect a huge forward battle," said Viljoen, "make no mistake, they are going to be tough, especially up front."
Skinstad said the Boks would target the Italian scrum from the onset, and turn that facet into home team dominance, allowing his more experienced backs plenty of opportunity to run the Azurri ragged.
The 50th test captain for the Boks said that he hoped to use this match as an opportunity to build a good rapport with the players, and improving communication.
Viljoen refused to be drawn into the issue of the Italians sending a weakened team, saying the tourists are an unknown quantity - much like the French who surprised the Boks 32-23 in the first Test in Johannesburg.
"It's a very difficult issue to comment on," said Viljoen, "but I am expecting a lot of what we saw against France."
Both Viljoen and Skinstad indicated that the first priority on Saturday was to secure the win, and then build on from that.
Skinstad said that he would take a Super 12 mentality into the match, with scoring four tries and winning by seven points or more, top of the priority list.
The Boks may sound a little modest, given the mediocrity of their opposition, but after the French debacle at Ellis Park, followed by an ill-disciplined and thuggish victory in Durban, a "Super 12" victory without incident would suit management just fine.
The truth of the matter is the Boks should win by at least 40 points, and anything less, despite the early excuses, will only increase the pressure on Viljoen. - Sapa