Losses mount for touring Boks as they prepare for Italy

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The hearing for the red card shown to Springbok loose forward, Pieter-Steph Du Toit against France over the weekend will take place on Tuesday.

The Boks are not expecting leniency after the straight red card early in the encounter but they are hoping to better prepare the players for European refereeing.

Meanwhile, Cheslin Kolbe stands a good chance of recovering for the weekend’s test match against Italy after a nasty challenge by Antoine Du Pont, which saw the French captain also red carded.

The Springboks have endured two close losses to the top two teams in world rugby, two games into their end of year tour.

Springbok management maintains that they intentionally chose a tough itinerary to see how their players react and adapt.

Asistant coach Deon Davids says he can’t fault the players against Ireland and France in terms of effort.

“The past two games against Ireland and especially against France having lost players early in the game playing with 14 players for 65 minutes, I think you can’t fault the players effort so that’s a big box. We can tick in terms of how our players respond in playing against such tough teams and how they work hard in order to execute their plans,” says Davids.

In order to execute their plans, the Boks also have to adapt to different refereeing standards.

Apart from the self-inflicted harm caused to the team through obvious infractions, there were also those instances that were open to different interpretations that when tallied, proved to be the difference between winning and losing.

Lock forward Salmaan Moerat says the coaching staff prepares the players for the ref for the weekend’s match but the players also have to develop an intuition to different refs.

“As players, we just have to adapt on the run, someday the refs see a certain action in a certain angle we see it in a different angle we are always going to have our differences but it is about how we adapt during that game,” says Moerat.

Italy awaits the Boks on the weekend, they just beat Australia 28-27, but ordinarily they should not present a problem. However the Boks still remember losing to the Azzurri in 2016, and the way this tour is going, Davids is urging caution against the well drilled Italians.

“Italians are a very good coached side; they have got some good systems in place. They’ve come along way with their head coach from Benton and certain other coaches into the Italian side; they get good rewards in international rugby. They have beaten Wales away which are not easy to do, they’ve beaten Australia now and they have also beaten us in 2016, something that we have to take to heart so you have to pitch up here with the right mind-set and the right attitude because there is really an upward curve in terms of their performance,” Davids added.

It’s important to remember that this tour is still just reconnaissance for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France, however racking up the losses is not going help with confidence or public sentiment.