Coach Kieran Crowley said on Wednesday that Italy’s rugby team is ready for New Zealand’s intimidation and bullying tactics. He announced his rugby team that will face the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup.
Crowley made three changes and three positional moves to the team that beat Uruguay 38-17 last week.
“The players who miss the match are of course disappointed, but this is a World Cup test match; it is very important. This is the strongest team we could send on the field.”
The team he has chosen for Friday’s clash in Lyon is almost the same as the team that secured their 52-8 win over Namibia in Group A.
Given the history between the two teams – New Zealand have won 15 previous Tests by an average of more than 50 points – Crowley expects the All Blacks to want to bully his team, but he says they are ready for it.
“This is a new team, this team has never played against New Zealand. The New Zealand team they announced today has also never played against Italy as a team. Yes there are statistics, and yes there is history, but history can always be broken.”
Italy have never beaten the All Blacks, nor qualified for the quarter-finals at the World Cup. Those records will change if they win on Friday.
“This group of 33 players has matured a lot over the last 18 months. They have a lot more confidence in their abilities,” Crowley added.
Team (15-1): Tommaso Allan; Ange Capuozzo, Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri; Federico Ruzza, Dino Lamb; Marco Riccioni, Giacomo Nicotera, Danilo Fischetti
Reserves: Hame Faiva, Ivan Nemer, Simone Ferrari Niccolo Cannone, Manuel Zuliani, Toa Halafahi, Martin Page-Relo, Paolo Odogwu
Coach: Kieran Crowley