Italy vs Wallabies match preview

Italy vs Wallabies; first test preview

Italy vs Wallabies; first test preview
Some guy who played League

Some guy who played League

Guess what – Craig Gower’s back in town to play against the Wallabies! And oh yeah – there are some other Italian blokes with him as well…

While that’s been Aussie media spin on the Italian selection (how are we going to get bums on seats when there aren’t any ex-mungos in the oppo?) it definitely doesn’t do the Azzuri justice. While it sounds like Craig’s been doing a more than a solid job for French club Bayonne over the last couple of seasons (albeit at 12, not 10) there are much better union players in that team.

And you need go no further than Sergio Parisse, the number 8 and captain, in that respect. He regularly makes the Six Nations team of the season, despite playing with the perennial wooden spooners. A straight out quality athlete.

Not far behind, in my opinion, is one of the best open-sides in Europe, and one of the worst scrum-halves; Mauro Bergamasco. The fact that he’s listed as a Flanker/Centre/Wing gives you an idea of the guys skill-set and pace. (This also makes me wonder how we should list George Smith….)

However, look down the rest of the side and you’ll see big gaps in the experience column. The bench is amazing; no one outside of Bortolami has caps that get into the double figures. The problem for Italy is that these new guys aren’t slotting into a performing team either. This year they got spanked by everyone except Wales in Rome.

The Wallabies have talked up the big ambush that the Italy forward pack could spring. Hopefully it will supply a sterner test than last week; we’ve known the Aussie backline has talent, it’s how the XV performs under pressure that we’re looking for.

Even if this were to be applied from Italy’s depleted pack and non-existent bench, I could only see this slowing down the Wallabies in the first half. The second half could, and should, be a blood bath of points.

Gagger Says: Wallabies by 30

Player Caps Club
15 Luke McLean 8 Calvisano
14 Kaine Robertson 37 Wing
13 Mirco Bergamasco 61 Stade Francais
12 Matteo Pratichetti 19 Calvisano
11 Alberto Sgarbi 2 Treviso
10 Craig Gower 0 Bayonne
9 Pablo Canavosio 25 Viadana
8 Sergio Parisse (capt) 62 Stade Francais
7 Mauro Bergamasco 74 Stade Francais
6 Alessandro Zanni 31 Calvisano
5 Carlo Antonio Del Fava 36 Ulster
4 Quintin Geldenhuys 0 Viadana
3 Fabio Staibano 6 Castres Olympique
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 19 Calvisano
1 Salvatore Perugini 60 Stade Toulousain
Franco Sbaraglini 2 Treviso
Ignacio Rouyet 2 Viadana
Paul Derbyshire 0 Padova
Tito Tebaldi 0 Gran Parma
Kristopher Burton* 2 Orleans
Gonzalo Garcia 8 Calvisano
Marco Bortolami 74 Gloucester

Italy Test Results 2008-09
Nov 8: Lost to Australia, Padova 20-30
Nov 15: Lost to Argentina, Torino 14-22
Nov 22: Lost to Pacific Islanders, Reggio Emilia 17-25
Feb 7: Lost to England, London 11-36
Feb 15: Lost to Ireland, Rome 9-38
Feb 28: Lost to Scotland, Edinburgh 6-26
Mar 14: Lost to Wales, Rome 15-20
Mar 21 Lost to France, Rome 8-50

Wallaby Team

15. James O’Connor (Western Force)
14. Lachie Turner (NSW Waratahs)
13. Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies, captain)
12. Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds)
11. Drew Mitchell (Western Force)
10. Matt Giteau (Brumbies)
9. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)
8. Richard Brown (Western Force)
7. George Smith (Brumbies)
6. Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
4. James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
3. Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs)
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
Run on reserves:
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs)
17. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
18. Peter Kimlin
19. David Pocock (Western Force)
20. Josh Valentine (Western Force)
21. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
22. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies)

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