It will be a homecoming for both Italy coach Nick Mallett and second row Carlo del Fava when they pit themselves against world champions South Africa at the weekend.
Del Fava was born and brought up in Umtata near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, until he left for Italy in 2003. Having already played for South Africa and the Natal Sharks under 21 teams, it didn’t take him long to make his mark with new club Overmach Parma. Within a matter of months he was making his Italy debut against Wales in Cardiff.
His great-grandfather immigrated to South Africa from Lucca in Tuscany and like all young men in the rugby-mad country Del Fava grew up wanting to wear the green and gold jersey of the South Africa team.
Instead he is now looking forward to testing himself against the world champions for the first time.
“I was born here and like all lads who grow up in South Africa my dream was the Springboks. Now, though, I have the possibility of playing them wearing the Italy shirt,” he said. “All I can say is it feels strange. It will be a big challenge for Italy. For us in the second row the fatigue on Saturday evening will be something else.”
Now, having become a fixture in the team during the Six Nations, the Ulster captain is excited by the chance to test himself against the Springboks, in particular opposite numbers Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.
“They’re phenomenal and are the best second row pair in the world. Taking them on will be a nightmare, but it is the type of challenge every player wants to face,” he said. “Second row is a role where you have to be hungry and you have to want to go to war in every match. On Saturday we will need to gain parity there.”
Such has been the rise of Del Fava since last year’s World Cup that coach Mallett is expecting the 28-capped player to be one of Italy’s key areas in the match at Newlands in Cape Town.
“We have two excellent second rows in Del Fava and Santiago Dellape. Del Fava above all has developed a great deal these past couple of seasons with Bourgion and Ulster,” the South African coach and former player said.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being