Warrick Gelant has set the scene alight in South African rugby this year, and is on the verge of making his Springbok debut. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

MILAN – Pieter-Steph du Toit returns from concussion to the South Africa starting XV as Bongi Mbonambi makes his first start for the Springboks after coach Allister Coetzee made two changes for his team to face Italy on Saturday.

Flank Du Toit was forced to sit out last week’s 18-17 victory over France in Paris after suffering concussion in the record 38-3 humbling by Ireland a week earlier.

Lineout specialist Du Toit comes back into the team in place of Siya Kolisi, who is unavailable due to the birth of his second child, South Africa said in a press release.

Mbonambi makes his first start after 12 caps off the bench in place of Malcolm Marx, who has a shoulder injury.

“We decided not to risk Malcolm, which means Bongi will get a well-deserved first start in the No 2 jersey,” said Coetzee.

“Bongi has worked hard, and I have no doubt he will grab this opportunity with both hands.”

Allister Coetzee addresses a press conference in Padova on Thursday.

Chiliboy Ralepelle replaces Mbonambi on the bench, with uncapped back Warrick Gelant preferred to Damian de Allende amongst the replacements.

“Warrick is in good form and his work-rate during training has been impressive,” added Coetzee.

“I know he will add value, and I am very excited for the possibility of seeing him in action.”

Springbok Team

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.