New coach Brunel wants Italy to be dangerous

New Italy coach Jacques Brunel has revealed that he plans to make the Italy national team dangerous from anywhere on the field.

The Frenchman took over the job two months ago after South African Nick Mallett’s contract ran out following the World Cup in New Zealand.

Under Mallett Italy made great strides in terms of consistency and competitiveness but while the forwards were respected throughout the world, their backs were always considered a weakness.

And that’s something Brunel, 57, expects to change.

“You need a team that is dangerous in every department so effectively it’s fair to say that right now the team is a little unbalanced,” admitted the former French assistant coach.

“We have forwards who are able to compete with the best but behind them there is still room for improvement to be able to impose ourselves or have the strength in the backs to perform to the highest level.

“So we’re going to try to re-balance the team, to implement a sense of spirit, to create freedom, to give a free hand to this three-quarter line so that they develop self-confidence.”

Less than a month away from the start of the Six Nations tournament Brunel recognises that his team are not yet as good as the opposition but he hopes to work the magic that has served him well in the past.

Brunel has a record of getting the most out of limited resources, guiding Colomiers to the European Challenge Cup in 1998 and Perpignan to the French Top 14 crown three years ago.

Now he wants Italy’s players to follow his methods.

“Training in the ethnological sense simply means taking them with you,” he said.

“You need to train with an objective, a way of feeling good with yourself because it’s quicker, more incisive, more concentrated and also simpler.

“You shouldn’t want to over-complicate your style of play because we don’t have enough time.

“Basically we need to synthesise things but without restricting their ambition from either their playing style or spirit.

“We have to find that balance.”

But Brunel is confident he is starting from a solid base and nothing he has seen in his first two months in charge has given him any reason to think otherwise.

“My impression hasn’t changed, I’ve known the Italian group a bit for several years now, I’ve been able to follow their progess and how they did at the World Cup,” he said.

“These last two months weren’t about discovering the players because I already knew them more or less.

“It has been mostly about discovering Italian rugby, seeing the whole structure, the potential of the high level network from the academy through the Italian top flight to the (Celtic League) franchises.

“It’s a structure that has been well established with several different levels which should lead to a high level.

“It’s coherent, it’s new and it should work well. The academy and franchises have only been around two years, they need time to bear fruit.

“But we need regular contact and to work together.”

Brunel recognises, though, that there will be limits to what he can achieve with the players.

He says it is up to others to develop better individuals for him to work with at international level.

“I hope we will surpass our potential but you can’t kid yourself, to have good results you always need good players,” he said.

“In national teams, especially, we’re not a showroom to display the great work others are doing.

“We can’t improve players in the three weeks we have with them, we don’t have enough time.

“The atmosphere can improve someone and give him confidence but his level is set beforehand.

“We have some very good players in Italy, let’s not forget that, now what we need to do is get everything working well.”

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