Italy pick sellout for All Blacks Rome match

LIAM NAPIER IN ROME
Last updated 15:31 13/11/2012
Jacques Brunel
ALFREDO FALCONE/ LaPresse/ Photosport
LEVEL-HEADED: Italy coach Jacques Brunel wants a consistent performance from his side when they play the All Blacks.
Olympic Stadium Rome
PAUL HANNA/ Reuters
SPQR: The Olympic Stadium in Rome has a capacity of 70,000.

Related Links

Hansen 'not panicking' over Thomson charge Piri Weepu repays Hansen's faith in him Poaching Scott inspires Carter to a masterclass Experience to lead new look Maori side

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Dan Carter pivotal to All Black's World Cup chances, says former coach Graham Henry NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew forecasts 'modest profit' for 2014 France 'loaded' on drugs for infamous 1986 All Blacks 'Battle of Nantes' test Former All Black Piri Weepu to leave London Welsh after signing deal with French club Oyonnax New Zealand Rugby says mosquito-transmitted disease in Samoa won't threaten Apia test match Andy Ellis earned the yen in Japan but lost chance to return to the All Blacks fold Richie McCaw refutes links with offshore clubs, remains mute on retirement talk All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa sticks with NZ rugby for next three years Malakai Fekitoa is set to re-sign with Highlanders and NZ Rugby Massive payday unlikely to lure All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw to France

Having accounted for Tonga relatively comfortably, Italian coach Jacques Brunel was taking a realistic approach to this weekend’s clash with the All Blacks in Rome.

The plucky 28-23 win over World Cup upstarts Tonga will add to rugby’s growing popularity in Italy that will be highlighted by a likely sellout of the 70,000 capacity Olympic Stadium for the Sunday morning match against the All Blacks.

But with 11 tests against New Zealand and nothing to show in terms of history, this Italian side doesn’t appear capable of changing that.

Italy play the Wallabies the week after and that might be a more realistic target for them, especially if Australia cop a hiding on the back of last week’s mauling by France.

"It won't be an easy road, we know it," Brunel said of the fortnight ahead against the All Blacks and Wallabies.

“But because we are going to face teams that are ahead of us in the rankings, we must be focused on playing our game and compete from the beginning until the final whistle, so to keep the score close and increase our chances to win games."

The All Blacks arrived in Rome today after their big win over Scotland.

Brunel, a former assistant to Bernard Laoprte with France and also having experience with Perpignan, believes he is making progress.

The last Six Nations saw Italy avoid the wooden spoon for a fifth consecutive year.

"The analysis I make is that we turned our back on a difficult year and have made good progress.

"Our players had to face a change in coaching and the traditionally complicated post-World Cup year, but they did it quite nicely."

He wants more consistency from his side and that will be the challenge having got past a physical Tongan team. The win over Tonga took France to 4-5 under Brunel.

“We simply need to stop wasting chances," he said, lamenting narrow losses to powerhouse England and Argentina.

"This season we have played only minutes of what we have been working at in training since last November. We need to up our game and support the game-plan for the entire 80 minutes of play. This must be our mission for the next six months."

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content