Italy's South African coach plots Bok demise

Marius Goosen (Italian Rugby)
Marius Goosen (Italian Rugby)

Cape Town - Brendan Venter was given a lot of the praise for Italy's stunning 20-18 victory over the Springboks in Florence last year.

Working with the Italians on a consultancy basis until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the former Bok centre was then snapped up by South Africa coach Allister Coetzee at the start of 2017 as the Springboks' defence and exits specialist. 

READ: Boks v Italy: The survivors from Florence

The result is that, this year, Venter has spent more time focusing on the Boks than Italy. 

Due to the obvious conflict of interest surrounding Venter's involvement in this weekend's Test between the sides, he will be taking a back seat and working with neither the Boks nor Italy this week. 

But, that doesn't mean that the Italians do not have another South African weapon in their corner. 

Marius Goosen, who hails from Kleinmond in the Western Cape, is currently working with the Italian national side as a defence coach. 

Now 43, Goosen left South Africa for Italy in 2002. 

He had represented South Africa 'A', the Bulls and Stormers, but when he moved to Europe he never looked back. 

The fullback would go on to become a legend at Italian club Benetton Treviso before he retired from the game in 2010. 

Since then, he has focused on a career in coaching and he took over at his beloved Benetton in 2016. 

Now he is working with the national side, plotting the Springbok demise in Padova on Saturday. 

Looking ahead to the match, Goosen was quick to point out that the successes of Florence in 2016 would count for little on Saturday.

"South Africa has grown a lot in the last year," he was quoted as saying on the Italian Rugby website.

"It is not the same team that we beat in Florence in 2016, but we want to go out there and give a quality performance."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 15:00 (SA time). 

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