Rugby World Cup 2011

Azzurri aim to reward Mallett

2011-09-07 07:29
Corniel van Zyl (File)

Cape Town - Corniel van Zyl, the former Cheetah lock currently playing for Italy, says they want to give coach Nick Mallett a good send-off at the Rugby World Cup.

Mallett's contract with the Italians expires after the World Cup and it it still unsure what the future holds for the former Springbok coach.

Van Zyl says they have it as their mission to reward their coach by becoming the first Italian team to reach the knockout phases at a World Cup tournament.

"Hopefully we could make history and give him a nice goodbye-present by reaching the quarter-finals," Van Zyl told the Volksblad newspaper from their training base in Nelson, New Zealand.

Van Zyl firmly believes they could stage an upset by reaching the next stage. Italy are pooled together with Australia, Ireland, America and Russia in Group C.

Their first game is on Sunday at the North Harbour Stadium against Australia.

"We believe in our structures and our game plan. We really believe on a good day, when everything falls in place, we are a more than competitive team.

"The ream is passionate and proud, everyone will give everything on all occasions. We realise that we would need to give it our all in every match to reach the quarter-finals."

They should beat America and Russia, and will then target a win against the Irish in order to realise their goal - and give Mallett the perfect send-off. A win against Australia on Sunday will probably be a bridge too far.

But Van Zyl is nevertheless optimistic. "We know what to expect from them. They are really good on the attack and our defence will have to be sound."

But, he said, "there are several strong points in our side...our scrum is definitely one of the best in the world.


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