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

National

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen put his faith in flying winger Waisake Naholo for the Rugby World Cup Nehe Milner-Skudder stunned by inclusion in All Blacks' World Cup squad Waisake Naholo makes remarkable comeback as All Blacks squad named for Rugby World Cup New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox finishes tied for 27th at Czech Masters Lima Sopoaga's World Cup fate sealed by All Blacks star Dan Carter's stunning revival Nick Willis a disappointing sixth in 1500m final at world championships in Beijing Kiwi boats off to winning start at rowing world championships in France Adrian Lewis beats Raymond van Barneveld to win Auckland Darts Masters All Blacks flanker Liam Messam's four-year wait ends when the phone rings All Blacks coach prepared to gamble by picking just three locks in Rugby World Cup squad

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

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content