Italy believe they can win at Twickenham

Italy coach Nick Mallett has insisted that his team will go to Twickenham convinced that they can come away with a first-ever victory over England.

Italy came within seconds of beating 2009 Grand Slam champions Ireland last weekend in Rome but a late drop goal from Ronan O’Gara put an end to their dream.

“Only average teams consider defeats as good results, even close defeats,” Italy captain Sergio Parisse told PA Sport.

Coach Nick Mallett has been encouraged by the positive manner in which his team have responded to last week’s disappointing loss.

“I am very happy to hear what Sergio said. That game taught us a lesson in how to close out tight matches,” Mallett said.

“It gave us a lot of confidence to know that if we do get things right we can win games.

“We have been trying to improve over the last 18 months and we have built a lot of confidence as a side.

“Every time we play, the team believes they have the ability to win the game. This was borne out by the game against Ireland.

“Beating England at Twickenham is something Italy have never done in the history of their rugby. It would be a fantastic achievement.

“It wouldn’t be realistic to say we are favourites but we definitely have a better chance tomorrow than we did two years ago.”

Two years ago Mallett did not have a first choice scrum-half so he named flanker Mauro Bergamasco in the position which was a terrible flop for Italy as they lost 36-11.

Ironically Mallett has had scrum trouble this weekend and Pablo Canavosio pulled out of the match handing a start to Treviso’s Fabio Semenzato who will make his Test debut.

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