Conor O'Shea determined to exorcise Italy's demons against Wales
Conor O'Shea readily accepts that Italy's last two RBS 6 Nations experiences against Wales were "very difficult" for the Azzurri.
Wales racked up 67 points at Italy's expense in Cardiff last season - a year after scoring 61 at the Stadio Olimpico during the most gripping day of title-chasing action in Six Nations history.
And while a forecast of heavy rain for Rome this weekend might put a dampener on Sunday's latest clash as an attacking spectacle, new Italy boss O'Shea knows that Wales could once again prove to be formidable opposition.
"We know that the last two games against them have been very difficult for us, but we focus on ourselves, on the work to be done," said former Harlequins boss O'Shea, whose short Italy reign has already generated an historic victory over South Africa.
"We have to impose our game plan on them, and at the end of the 80 minutes we will see.
"We want a great, great performance this weekend to make everyone understand that we are on the right track.
"We are changing, and it is possible to change our history.
"We know where we want to go in the long term, but we must also think about the short term - this Six Nations - and the medium term to increase competitiveness ahead of the (2019) World Cup."
O'Shea will parade 10 of the starting line-up on Sunday that accounted for South Africa in November.
Edoardo Gori's return at scrum-half represents a solitary change from the back division that started the Springboks clash in Florence earlier this season.
And that means no place for in-form Exeter centre Michele Campagnaro, who is named on the bench, with Luke McLean and Tommaso Benvenuti continuing their midfield partnership.
Skipper Sergio Parisse, meanwhile, will win his 122nd cap, packing down in a back-row that also includes Six Nations debutant Maxime Mbanda.
"I grew up watching and loving the Six Nations tournament," O'Shea added.
"I had the good fortune to play in it, and it is an incredible competition. I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead Italy in this event.
"We need to ensure high performance for 400 minutes across five matches, to be in the game until the end in each of the five matches.
"Improving the depth of our squad is a goal, as well as having internal competition. Our work is to develop our group and create internal competition with two to three players for each position, which can only be beneficial to our team."