ROME (Reuters) - Italy captain Sergio Parisse believes Italy can win their first Six Nations game in four years when they take on a much-changed Wales line-up at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
Italy lost their opening game 33-20 to Scotland at Murrayfield but scored three late tries as they rallied from 33-3 down with 10 minutes left.
“I am really confident because I have seen a lot of great work from the team during training in the week,” Parisse said after Friday’s captain’s run as Italy completed their preparations for their second game of this year’s competition.
“We go into the game with belief, and we are playing with confidence. But the most important thing is the whole 80 minutes against a big, big side in Wales who are fourth in the world.
“They won in France not playing their best rugby. France conceded some very easy tries, but we know Wales are a very dangerous side. For us, we want to be in the game for 80 minutes.”
Wales, who also rallied late to squeeze past France in Paris, have made 10 changes for Saturday’s clash in Rome but Parisse, who will extend his record number of Six Nations appearances to 67, said this was not relevant.
“From the point of view of a player, it is a dangerous mindset to be in if you are more motivated to face a side that has made changes,” Parisse added
“That is not a good place to be. For us, it doesn’t matter whether Wales have made 10, 15, 11 or three changes.
“They are still a very, very strong side, and we will have to be at our best to beat them. We are concentrating on ourselves.”
Italy have lost their last 18 Six Nations tests, stretching back to their 2015 win over Scotland at Murrayfield, and have beaten Wales only twice, the last time 12 years ago in Rome.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, Editing by Ed Osmond)