Wales flair worries Nick Mallett’s Italian outfit

2008-02-22 00:00

ROME — Italy admitted they are wary of Wales’s flair and running game ahead of the pair’s Six Nations clash at Cardiff’s Millennium stadium tomorrow.

Having been involved in narrow defeats against Ireland and England in cagey affairs, Italy coach Nick Mallett said he was expecting something completely different from Wales.

“It will be a new challenge because Ireland and England played conservatively against us,” he said.

“Ireland kicked a lot in the first half and they kept it tight in the second half because we were close.

“England also kept the ball close to the fringes and didn’t move it around a lot.

“Wales are one of the best attacking teams in the competition with France. They’ve always been very good on the attack and they’ve improved their defence a lot as well.”

Prop forward Salvatore Perugini, who will be making his 50th appearance for Italy, as will Mirco Bergamasco and Santiago Dellape, likened Wales’s game to the free-running flair of the French.

In particular he is wary of flying winger Shane Williams.

“We have a strong scrum whereas Wales are strong in their backs, most of all Shane Williams,” said Perugini.

“He’s very fast, technically good, very strong. We have to try to stop them playing.

“Wales play more like France than an Anglo-Saxon team. If we look at history, we’ve done badly against France because of the way they play. We will have to concentrate on our defence and aggression.

“We’ve done well against the Anglo-Saxon style, now we have to learn to do well against another style.

“We know that we might struggle, but we have to stop them playing.”

Mauro Bergamasco said Italy need to concentrate on their own strengths and not play Wales at their game.

“ The important thing is to not give the ball away and make fewer turnovers,” the flanker said.

“That’s the way to play against this type of team. They are very strong, the most complete team in the competition at this time.

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