It will be the teams’ first meeting in a World Cup tournament and while the Boks will start as the favourites, Erasmus is thinking of nothing other than winning the game and moving on.
And he’s got a point. Long gone are the days when the Boks scored a 101-0 victory against Italy in Durban in 1999 and fresh in the memory is the first-ever and still only defeat suffered to the Azzurri, in Florence in November 2016, when the Boks went down 20-18.
A year later the Boks set the record straight with a 35-6 win in Padua, but with a World Cup quarter-finals place on the line now anything is possible.
“I’ve got butterflies as I sit here,” said Erasmus ahead of the match in Ecopa. “Italy will be up for this game. They won’t believe they can beat the All Blacks (on October 12), but they’ll believe they can beat us.