ITALY CAPTAIN Sergio Parisse has warned the Azzurri will continue to use their controversial tactics as they prepare to face France in Saturday’s Six Nations clash in Rome.
Italy’s ‘no-ruck’ ploy caused confusion among England players with the Six Nations champions trailing at half-time before winning 36-15 at Twickenham two weeks ago.
“We invented nothing,” said Parisse.
“We tried to put the opponent in difficulty by respecting the rules. I don’t know if it will disappear or not, maybe the rules will change. Then we will have made a contribution to rugby.”
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Conor O’Shea’s Italy deliberately avoided competing for the ball at Twickenham after making a tackle, meaning rucks were not formed.
This meant there was no offside line, so the Azzurri could stand among the opposition backline and prevent the ball being passed.
“But tomorrow it’s France, a team with other qualities, other weaknesses. We have prepared ourselves on that basis,” said Parisse.
Italy are heading for another wooden spoon after consecutive defeats to Wales, Ireland and England.
France lost to England and Ireland, but beat Scotland at the Stade de France.
And Parisse believes they can rival France who they beat in 2011 and 2013, and gave a lot of trouble to last year.
“You talk about these three matches but we’ve played a lot of others where we took 30, 40 or 50 points,” insisted the Stade Francais No 8.
“We don’t have the same technical or physical qualities but we’re a team which has mental resources.
“So the ingredients… like always it’s the battle, to be a team which hangs in there, which doesn’t give up, which piles on the pressure.
“We’re ready to give it everything so that France are under pressure until the end, for 80 minutes.
“France are a much stronger team than us, like England two weeks ago. Simply if we cause them problems, under pressure, they are a bit like us, they can lose their coherence and look for individual solutions.”
– Missing flair –
France have scored just two tries in three matches but backs coach Jean-Frederic Dubois admitted injecting the trademark flair of French teams of the past wasn’t a pressing concern.
“Of course we’d like to win with style, but we’re going to come up against the Italians who are playing their final home match of the tournament and will want to finish with a win,” said Dubois.
“We have to adapt to the teams we face. If we can win 3-0, we’ll win 3-0, even if some of you (in the media) will not be happy. And if we can expand our game then we’ll do it with pleasure.”
Les Bleus finished fifth in last year’s tournament — their first under head coach Guy Noves — and are again only ahead of Italy in the standings after three rounds.
“I think we’re still a work in progress, it’s still the same. It’s only been a year since the coaching staff arrived and the project was put in place,” added Dubois, while playing down concerns over their struggles in attack.
“How can I explain it? It’s in the small details: indiscipline and mistakes in the key moments. We’re working on it and hope that very soon we’ll be able to score tries.”
– © AFP 2017
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