Stand-in Springboks skipper Victor Matfield says the world champions will show ‘no mercy’ to Italy in the one-off test at Newlands this weekend.
That should send a shudder around the Azzurri dressing room because giant lock Matfield marked his first game as Springbok skipper with a 105-13 victory in Cape Town over Namibia.
With the Italians arriving without 13 top-choice players, the Boks are expected to batter them into submission as they seek to add to their two wins over Six Nations champions Wales in recent weeks.
“Every time a Springbok team runs out we want to be merciless – against any opposition. As long as we remain focused, we will play to our own very high standards,” said Matfield.
“We had two productive weeks against Wales, the Six Nations champions. For a team in the southern hemisphere it can’t get much more difficult as the fact that Wales were the Six Nations champs says a lot about their quality.
“As for Italy, don’t look at their Six Nations results. They weren’t great, but their performances were very good.
“They’ll test us with the way they scrum. They drive well from line-outs and they compete well at the breakdown points – it will be different from anything we experienced against Wales.”