Six Nations

Italy ready to 'spit blood'

2015-02-06 18:00
Sergio Parisse (AFP)

Rome - Italy captain Sergio Parisse said the Azzurri are ready to "spit blood" in a bid to hand defending champions Ireland their second successive Stadio Olimpico defeat when the sides meet in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been forced to make several changes to the side that won last year's title, with Brian O'Driscoll (retired), Andrew Trimble, Johnny Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Cian Healy and Dave Kearney all missing from his squad.

Ireland proved there was life after 'BOD' by winning all three of their recent November Tests, which included victories over South Africa (29-15) and Australia (26-23).

But Ireland's enforced changes mean their starting XV on Saturday will boast 186 combined less caps than a hugely experienced Italy, who claim they are ready to consign last year to the dustbin.

Italy finished with the wooden spoon last year and come into this year's tournament with only one win, against Samoa, to boast of from a disastrous 2014 that saw the Azzurri defeated 10 times.

But while Parisse has hailed Ireland's strength, he claims Italy have fine-tuned a tactical plan -- and is counting on their grit and determination to do the rest as they look to repeat their 2013 feat when they beat the Irish 22-15 in the capital.

"In tactical terms we've prepared for the match in the right way. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how," Parisse told media following Italy's captain's run at the Olimpico on Friday.

Parisse was asked about Schmidt's decision to opt for Ian Keatley at fly-half, following the Munster player's inclusion in the starting XV at the expense of Ian Madigan.

The big No 8 said: "We expected Madigan but they've chosen Keatley, who attacks the line less than his teammate. It's a bit of a surprise, but we know him. His game is much more similar to that of Sexton.

"He (Keatley) plays at Munster so he's used to top level games and I think for him it will be more about trying to impress than a game in which he will feel under pressure.

"But we're not focused on him. More than anything we're focused on our game and how to make life difficult for Ireland.

"They have a lot of qualities, but tactically we've prepared for this in the right way.

"The lads' hunger is satisfying for me to see. If they (Ireland) play at only 70% (capacity), for sure they will lose. But we have to give it 110%.

"You will see that all 23 of us are ready to spit blood to win this match."

Read more on:    ireland  |  italy  |  six nations  |  sergio parisse  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

Saturday, 23 February 2019
France v Scotland, Stade de France 16:15
Wales v England, Principality Stadium 18:45
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico 17:00
Saturday, 09 March 2019
Scotland v Wales, BT Murrayfield Stadium 16:15
England v Italy, Twickenham Stadium 18:45
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will win the 2018 Six Nations title?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.