Parisse urges Italy to retain attacking style of game

Italy captain Sergio Parisse has urged his team-mates to continue with the attacking game that benefited them in last year’s Six Nations Championship if they want to enjoy further success this season.

The Azzurri threw the 2013 tournament wide open when they beat France on the first weekend.

Long admired for their forward power, Parisse said Italy had shown they could play a more expansive game.

“Back in 2008 the questions were all about us having a good scrum, but I think we are more complete as a team now,” Parisse insisted at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.

“We can play in our backs and play a good kind of rugby, it’s not just dominating the scrum.

“We beat Ireland and France, and our objective is to continue this way, we lost it slightly in June and November, and we’ve got to bring that back now,” the Stade Francais back-row added.

“We’ve got to stick to that attacking style, we’ve got to go at it, and there are some risks you’ve just got to take, rather than just kicking ball away and defending the line.”

Parisse’s words were endorsed by Italy coach Jacques Brunel, who said injuries to key backs such as Andrea Masi and Gonzalo Canale would be no excuse for a negative approach in their tournament opener against champions Wales in Cardiff on February 1.

“We must be ambitious, we won twice last year against Ireland and France,” said Brunel.

“It’s a problem when you take out key men like Canale, Masi, because in terms of depth we do not have a pool of 40 or 50 players to choose from,” the Frenchman added.

“Their experience is vital, but what we must do now is usher in young players as quickly as possible.

“We have to integrate them very quickly to the level of competition: the speed of the game, the choices, the decisions, the reactions and how you can adapt to what happens.

“What we need to do is trust them, show them they can do what they need to do.

“We have to integrate them quickly, and that’s when the older and more experienced players come in.”

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