Six Nations

Pape wary of Italy challenge

2014-02-08 17:06
Pascal Pape (AFP)

Marcoussis - France captain Pascal Pape has warned on Saturday that victory should not be taken for granted agaisnt Italy in their Six Nations match on Sunday adding the Italians were a top class outfit.

The 33-year-old lock -- who is captaining France in the absence of the injured Thierry Dusautoir -- said it was also important for France to build on their thrilling 26-24 opening win over England last Saturday.

"We know the Italy team has loads of experience, is physically very strong, with a lot of rugby under their belts," said Pape, who will win his 51st cap.

"They are a top class outfit, we are very wary of this team."

Pape, who also stood in for Dusautoir as captain in last year's Six Nations but ended up being laid low after the first game with Italy (The Italians won 23-18) with a back injury, called on his team-mates to put in the same application and hard work they had done last week against the English.

"We are really keen to build on the win against England," said Pape, who added it was not a case of seeking revenge for last year's defeat in Rome.

Pape, who was an integral member of the France side that reached the 2011 World Cup final where they lost 8-7 to New Zealand, said nothing should be read into him leaving training early last Wednesday.

"Sometimes you are not 100% and it is better to stop training and that is why I decided to go off 10 minutes before it finished," said Pape, whose career has been bedevilled by injury.

"I just had a problem recuperating from the England match," added the Stade Francais second row forward, without specifying what the exact problem was.

Pape, who will be partnered by Yoann Maestri on Sunday as his partner for the England game, the less experienced Alexandre Flanquart, has been dropped, was fulsome in his praise for his Stade Francais team-mate and Italy captain Sergio Parisse, who along with prop Martin Castrogiovanni will equal the national record of 103 caps held by the now retired Andrea Lo Cicero.

"Sergio, is the Italian leader, maybe even their playmaker," said Pape.

"He is also maybe the best No8 in the world along with New Zealand's Kieran Read."

Read more on:    six nations  |  pascal pape  |  rugby
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