Bongi Mbonambi will have a chance to prove his ability from the outset against Italy. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

While there’s a first Test start for Bongi Mbonambi and a possible international debut for Warrick Gelant, the omission of centre Lukhanyo Am from Allister Coetzee’s match-day squad to face Italy on Saturday (3pm kickoff SA time) is one of the most notable omissions.

Am has been sensational for the Sharks this season, but he is yet to be put to use on the Springboks’ end-of-year tour.

This weekend would have been the ideal match for Coetzee and Co to experiment, as things will only get tougher against Wales .

A start for Gelant – one of the stand-out players this season – would also have been a very attractive prospect.

Mbonambi will get his first starting appearance in the place of Malcolm Marx – who sustained a shoulder injury against France last weekend – while Chiliboy Ralepelle will provide No 2 cover on the bench.

With Siya Kolisi having returned to South Africa to be home for the birth of his second child, Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has recovered from the concussion he sustained against Ireland , returns to action at No 7.

The rest of the team-sheet remains the same as the one that did duty in Paris last week.

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. 

IOL Sport