Italy out to prove a point against England

Italy fly-half Kris Burton hopes that even though they made errors against France Italy’s performance against England in the Six Nations this week will show that their new attacking approach is here to stay.

The Australian-born Treviso half-back retained his place at number 10 in Frenchman Jacques Brunel’s second selection as Italy coach.

And having been the chief playmaker in a more expansive Italy performance in Paris, where France ran away 30-12 winners, Burton is hoping for more of the same at the Stadio Olimpico here this weekend.

“It’s a lot more enjoyable if you hold the ball more, the team enjoys it more if you’re attacking more rather than defending the whole game,” said the Brisbane-born Burton, who moved to Italy in 2004 after failing to make the grade at Queensland Reds.

“It’s our objective to attack and hold the ball but we also have to choose when to play the tactical game.

“I hope this week we can show that we can attack more and that last week was not a one-off.

“We hope to show this week that we’re an attacking team and we can be a threat.

“We have to be more aggressive with the ball in hand, be explosive on the ball, make early decisions in attack and put them under pressure.”

Burton, who qualified for Italy through his mother, made his debut against Uruguay in 2007 under then-coach Pierre Berbizier.

But since then he has made only 10 appearances and was overlooked by both Berbizier in 2007 and the Frenchman’s South African successor Nick Mallett in 2011 for the last two World Cups.

But under Brunel he has earned his second successive start, although that may in part be due to an injury to Luciano Orquera.

“Obviously I’m happy every time I get the chance to start but I don’t really think about that, I think about what I can do for the team to get them on the front foot,” said the 31-year-old.

“It’s a lot easier to play that way rather than going backwards where it’s more difficult to make those breaks.

“If you’re going forward it’s easier to put pressure on the defence.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Burton believes Italy, who are well known for their lack of pace, will have to work hard to reduce the space England backs such as Chris Ashton, Ben Foden and David Strettle have.

“If you look at any international side their back three have all got pace, the idea is to limit how much they can play,” said Burton, who played in all of Italy’s matches in the last Six Nations.

“Obviously they’re going to be physical, they’ve always got a rush defence or if they vary their defence you’ve got to vary the game, see how it goes and make the right decisions at the right times.”

While England can call on the likes of Ashton on the wing, Italy will be relying on 21-year-old Giovanbattista Venditti, who will be making only his second start following his debut against France.

“I’m happy, I didn’t expect to get my debut and I expected this even less because I didn’t think I played well against France,” he admitted.

“We’ve got strong opponents once again, it’s our season debut at home which will be very emotional.

“I’m very calm, the only way to do well is to concentrate.

“In the last game I had (Julien) Malzieu in front of me who certainly isn’t a soft touch.

“Throughout the whole year with Aironi we’ve had important opponents in front of us so I’m not thinking so much of my adversary but rather of the match.”

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