ALTHOUGH the Springboks are the firm favourites to win their third match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup tournament, a loss against Italy will mean that the South Africans will not reach the quarter-final stage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Their defeat against New Zealand means the Springboks will have to win all their remaining matches to reach the quarter-finals.
Head coach Rassie Erasmus admitted that it will be a matter of all or nothing against Italy.
“We’ve been building for 20 test matches, and its do-or-die. The players feel it, and I have a little bit of butterflies, because we’ve lost to Italy in 2016,” Erasmus said.
Italy is currently at the top of Pool B after bonus-point victories over Namibia and Canada, but are well aware that they will face a step up in class when they tackle the Springboks.
A win would guarantee Italy a place in the quarter-finals for the first time, after they had their hopes dashed by Scotland in 2007 and Ireland in 2011 and 2015.
Coach Conor O’Shea shuffled his pack and has picked his big hitters, notably captain and number eight Sergio Parisse for the match against the South Africans.
“We must treat it like the last match we’ll ever play. The pressure is firmly on South Africa,” said O’Shea.