Bruised Italy depleted for Bok showdown

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 21:48
Large conor o shea italy 800

INJURY UPDATE: Leonardo Ghiraldini and Andrea Lovotti are out of Italy's remaining November Tests.

The Azzurri face South Africa in Florence this coming Saturday and Tonga in Padua a week later.

The injuries follow the bruising 10-68 defeat Italy suffered against the All Blacks this past weekend.

Leicester Tigers hooker Ghiraldini was forced to hobble off early in the encounter with New Zealand with a painful big toe injury.

Zebre prop Lovotti, making only his ninth appearance for Italy this past Saturday, was later diagnosed with a rib injury.

Both players have been sent back to their respective clubs, said Italy team manager Luigi Troiani.

"Ghiraldini was diagnosed with an injury to his big toe and Lovotti suffered a knock to the cartilage in his ribcage," said Troiani.

"These injuries have ruled them out of further participation in the November Tests."

Italy coach Conor O'Shea has already called up replacements for the pair, with Treviso prop Nicola Quaglio handed his first call-up and Zebre hooker Tommaso D'Apice given the chance to add to his 11 caps.

Treviso flank Marco Barbini has also been called up.

Despite the severity of their defeat to New Zealand, Italy will be looking to give South Africa a run for their money at the Artemio Franchi stadium of Serie A club Fiorentina.

South African coach Allister Coetzee is under pressure following a poor run of results - including a record 15-57 defeat against New Zealand last month and the Boks suffered their first defeat (21-37) to England in a decade this past weekend at Twickenham.

* Article continues below

Azzurri forward coach Giampiero De Carli said their loss to the All Blacks can be summed up in two parts.

"First there is the result, which heavily favoured the opponents [New Zealand] and which is certainly not good news," De Carli said.

"Then there is the performance, which will give us hope for the future.

"It was a match played at a very high tempo and a match in which the ball was in play for 39 minutes. From the statistics and GPS data collected it was clear the players performed at a very high level.

"We were up against opponents that just played at a much higher tempo than us.

"Of course we made a lot of errors, but there are positive signs that make us very hopeful for the future."

The forward coach said they expect the Azzurri to raise their game against South Africa.

"Although we maintained a high tempo, we made too many mistakes.

"Against teams at this level every mistake can cost you points.

"We are working on improving, both on attack and in defence.

"I'm sure we will see some results in the short term."