Namibia vs Georgia

Brunel: Italy in 'fragile' state

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 21:21
Large jacques brunel media

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has complained that his side is still "fragile" ahead of their Six Nations bow against champions Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has complained that his side is still "fragile" ahead of their Six Nations bow against champions Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Italy enjoyed their best Six Nations campaign last season as they beat both France and Ireland at home and finished fourth.

But the new scrum laws brought into effect this season have taken away much of their strength in that area and their results have suffered since.

Brunel, who coached Perpignan to the 2009 Top 14 title, has also tried to instil a more attacking mentality in the side and admits that it has left them vulnerable.

"We've established this ambition but we remain fragile," said the 60-year-old Frenchman, who was assistant France coach to Bernard Laporte from 2001-07 and which saw them reach two successive World Cup semifinals but were beaten by England on both occasions.

"Traditionally, Italian rugby likes the combat and contact. It was a little more based on defence.

"Since I arrived [after the 2011 World Cup] I've tried to balance it out, to put more emphasis on the ability to play and create.

"Sometimes we've managed that but then we've broken our balance.

"During the [last] Six Nations we had that balance between our creativity and our defence but then in the summer and autumn we lost our defence."

Brunel, though, believes one of the principal problems facing Italian rugby remains the lack of top level talent.

"We need top level players to create internal competition but we still don't have enough of that," he said.

"Italy has set up some academies, a whole pyramid structure building up to the top level, but for the moment those reserves haven't arrived."

One such problem position for many years since the 2003 retirement of Argentine-born Diego Dominguez, has been flyhalf.

But Brunel dismisses that particular area as of special concern.

"We're not just missing one player," insisted Brunel. "When you're a small team the difficulty is not to be so in spirit, and in the eyes of those of the opponents, referees and commentators.

"For the referee it's always the Italian or the Canadian who's going to infringe at a ruck, not a New Zealander.

"The players also need to have the ambition to bulldoze the All Blacks rather than put the brakes on themselves."

Yet despite that fighting talk, Brunel was not about to set lofty objectives for the Six Nations, particularly as the Azzurri play only two home matches this year.

"It will be very difficult to do better [than last year], not least because of the calendar, with trips to Cardiff and Paris to start with, and two out of five matches at home.

"We don't have any numerical aims, we've gone back to the content of matches, the goal is to rediscover satisfaction, improve our level of play, especially in defence."


Namibia vs Georgia
sast: 21h00 | local: 23h00

  • 6 | 0
Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 16h00 Newlands
Pumas v Blue Bulls 16h00 Mbombela Stadium
New Zealand v Tonga 19h00 Newcastle
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Wed, 07 October 2015
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pumas v Free State Cheetahs 37 | 37
Fri, 02 October 2015
New Zealand v Georgia 43 | 10
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 48 | 27
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 4 0 1 8
England 5 4 0 1 8
Wales 5 4 0 1 8
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 1 0 4 2
Scotland 5 0 0 5 0