Mallett changes three in Italy squad for Wales

Italy coach Nick Mallett has made three changes to his side for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Wales at the Stadio Flaminio.

Australian-born Kris Burton comes in for Luciano Orquera at fly-half following his disastrous defensive performance against England at Twickenham two weeks ago.

Robert Barbieri replaces Valerio Bernabo in the back row and Santiago Dellape comes in for Carlo Del Fava at lock.

In a number of changes on the bench, Carlo Festuccia replaced injured hooker Fabio Ongaro while Fiji-born flanker Manoa Vosawai is also recalled.

Italy team manager Luigi Troiani denied that the selection of Burton was due to Orquera’s display at Twickenham, where three times England scored a try as a direct result of him missing a tackle.

“It’s a technical choice and it’s not because of the England match, otherwise we’d have to change 14 of the 15 players,” said Troiani.

“We’re not as good as England but we’re not 46 points worse than them, that’s not our level because the week before you saw that we have a solid defence.

“It wasn’t a collective problem but one-on-one and we won’t suffer what happened against England again — it was just an ugly interlude.”

Treviso’s Burton believes Italy simply have to put that game behind them and perform more as they did in the last gasp 13-11 defeat to Ireland the week before.

“It was a case of missing one-on-one tackles and we gave them too much ball from line-outs and different phases and you can’t win a game of rugby without the ball,” he said.

“We weren’t happy after the Ireland game because we had the chance to win but we didn’t.

“We went to England with the same mentality but it didn’t work out so we have to go forward and concentrate on what we have to do.

“If the result comes at the end of the day then it does but we just have to put our heads down, do the hard work and at the end of the day look at the scoreboard.”

England hurt Italy with their free-flowing, open, running game and the Italian players expect more of the same from Wales.

“They’re playing James Hook at 12 and Jamie Roberts at 13, they’re very different players. Roberts is more physical and direct while Hook is more intelligent in playing the ball and looks for space and the offload,” said centre Gonzalo Canale.

“They complement each other well so we will have to be very careful.”

Australian-born full-back Luke McLean believes the visitors will attack them from all over the park.

“They’ve got a good team at the moment, especially bringing back (Stephen) Jones in at 10 and Hook at 12, it’s a good mix they’ve got,” he said.

“They’re an attacking team, they like to attack from everywhere and we’ve seen that against England and Scotland.

“They like to play running rugby, they like to pass before contact, they have good interplay between forwards and backs so I think they’ll be coming to attack and try to hurt us from everywhere.

“That’s their gameplan and it won’t change for us or any team.”

Italy are looking to bounce back from their humbling 59-13 thrashing at Twickenham while Wales will be hoping to build on their impressive 24-6 success over Scotland at Murrayfield last time out.

Italy (15-1)

Luke McLean; Andrea Masi, Gonzalo Canale, Alberto Sgarbi, Mirco Bergamasco; Kris Burton, Fabio Semenzato; Sergio Parisse (capt), Robert Barbieri, Alessandro Zanni; Quintin Geldenhuys, Santiao Dellape; Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini

Replacements: Carlo Festuccia, Andrea Lo Cicero, Valerio Bernabo, Manoa Vosawai, Pablo Canavosio, Luciano Orquera, Tommaso Benvenuti

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