Italy captain fears Boks more than All Blacks

Italy may have regularly suffered World Cup thrashings at the hands of the mighty New Zealand, against whom they usually concede at least 70 points, but for captain Sergio Parisse it is world champions South Africa who are the best.


Italy will soon head into a daunting trio of November internationals in which they host the All Blacks in Milan’s San Siro on November 14 before tackling the Springboks in Udine and then Samoa in Reggio Emilia in the succeeding weeks.


The All Blacks are up first but already Parisse is more worried about South Africa, who 10 years ago dealt Italy their worst ever international defeat 101-0.


“Without taking anything away from the All Blacks legend, right now South Africa are the best team in the world,” said the 26-year-old Stade Francais number eight.


“It will be a great privilege for Italy to play the team that has dominated world rugby over the last two years, winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup, beating the British and Irish Lions last summer and winning the last TriNations.


“That match and the one in Milan will allow us to understand how we’ve progressed since our tour (in June).


“Already we know we can compete with anyone if we play our best in defence but now we have to make some improvements as well in our attacking play.”


Parisse took heart from Italy’s June internationals in which they played away to Australia twice and New Zealand once, but each time lost by only just over 20 points.


“There will be a lot of responsability on us for the first match at the San Siro against the New Zealand All Blacks,” he added.


“We will have the eyes of almost 80,000 people bearing down on us, we’ll have to give everything against a team that will be far more in form than they were the last time we played on June 27 (a 27-6 defeat).


“It would be a big mistake to think we could beat them just because we managed to contain them in Christchurch.


“But we’ve worked very hard in training knowing that it’s vital we respect our tactical play.


“We have to keep them as far away as possible from our tryline and repeat the good kicking game we produced in June.”


A 32-man Italy squad are currently training in Rome until November 5 before South African coach Nick Mallet trims his squad down ahead of the test matches.

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