Sat, Mar 10, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Italy hoping for a second Six Nations win against Wales

AFP , ROME

Italy host Wales in Rome today where victory for the Azzurri will see them record two wins in the Six Nations for the very first time since they joined the tournament in 2000.

While Italy are buzzing with confidence following their first away victory in the championship against Scotland last month, Wales' morale is at a low after three straight defeats.

Conditions would seem perfect for Italy to claim back-to-back wins, but Italy coach Pierre Berbizier is not underestimating the wounded Welsh.

"Wales deserve our utmost respect," the former France scrumhalf said.

"They will come determined to get a good result, while we want to confirm our progress.

"We beat Scotland and we want to carry some of that euphoria into Saturday's match, but at the same time we cannot afford to lose our discipline," he said.

The Azzurri's first away win has raised the profile of Italian rugby considerably, but second row Santiago Dellape insisted the team's feet were firmly on the ground.

"Thanks to the attention from the media, people are now stopping us in the streets," he said.

"But we must remain humble. We haven't won the World Cup, just one match.

"It's going to be a real battle against Wales. They always give us problems," Dellape said.

Wales prop Gethin Jenkins is expecting a fierce scrap with Italy's powerful front row.

"Italy's confidence will have been boosted by winning an away game at Murrayfield and impressing against England," he said.

"They once again showed they are not a side to be taken lightly, and they will want to turn us over.

"Their forwards seem to improve every year and their pack is now pretty good, so it's going to be tough, without a doubt," he said.

Berbizier has made three changes to his starting XV.

Wing Andrea Masi and prop Martin Castrogiovanni were both injured in the historic 37-17 win over the Scots, meaning places for Matteo Pratichetti and Carlos Nieto respectively.

Argentina-born Ramiro Pez is recalled at flyhalf at the expense of Andrea Scannavacca.

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