Italy can gain respect again at Wales’ expense

Italy were hammered by England two weeks ago because they were over-confident and didn’t play with enough fear, captain Sergio Parisse said Friday.

Italy will try to put their 59-13 Twickenham humiliation behind them when they host Wales on Saturday in their third game of this season’s Six Nations tournament.

But having gained confidence from their gritty display in the narrow 13-11 defeat at home to Ireland the week before, Italy failed to heed the warnings given by prop Martin Castrogiovanni, who said they must not follow-up a good performance with a shoddy one, as they have done many times in the past.

And although Parisse said he doesn’t know why this keeps happening, he said they need to be afraid of their opponents if they are to enjoy any success.

“For us the England game was an important exam on a mental level and we messed up, it was a disaster,” he said.

“Castro spoke of matches in the past when he had great games and performances and then lost badly the next week.

“We’re not yet mentally mature and that game against England confirmed it.

“Every time we go on the pitch we have to be afraid of conceding 40-50 points and giving everything and fighting 100 percent to the end.

“Maybe subconsciously we got a bit confident or thought that having run Ireland so close would help the next week, that was a mistake.

“We must always be afraid of getting thrashed.”

Wales are one of only two sides Italy have beaten in the Six Nations, the Azzurri having tasted success in Rome in 2003 and 2007.

They have beaten Scotland five times, including four times out of six at home, and this is often thought of as one of their most winnable fixtures when entertaining the Welsh.

But Mallett doesn’t see it that way.

“Every year is different and I don’t like talk about history, what we try to concentrate on in every game, and I was very disappointed with against England, was the line-out, discipline, kick reception and we fell off one-on-one tackles.

“All the things we did well agianst Ireland, we did badly against England so I’m not worried who we play against, the important thing is that our guys do what they should do properly.

“Only if we do everything well do we have a chance to win at the end as happened against Ireland.

“But if we don’t do everything well against Wales, with six British Lions out of seven in their backline, which I think is better than England’s, it’s outstanding, if we give them the ball like we did against England then it will be very dangerous.”

Italy fly-half Luciano Orquera was widely criticised against England as his missed tackles led to three tries.

But Mallett denied that was the reason he has restored Australia-born Kris Burton to the starting line-up.

“I’m giving both of them chances in this Six Nations. We lost 13-11 to Ireland and Burton played his game, he missed a few tackles and in attack we used our forwards a lot because of the lack of communication between him and the pack.

“Orquera has this ability to talk to the forwards and organise them better but even though he made 16 tackles against England, he missed three and those three resulted in tries.

“We lost nine from 14 line-outs and after these we made 65 tackles. We made 140 tackles in the game and missed 30, that’s 84 percent, the same as England managed.

“But if we have to do 200 tackles against a team it’s impossible to play a great game.

“We made a lot of tackles but missed some and when you miss tackles you concede tries.

“If we had won 12 out of 14 line-outs as we did against Ireland then we’d have done 60 less tackles and hence conceded less tries.”

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