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Italy hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini: We know we have to beat Canada

Published 25/09/2015

Leonardo Ghiraldini, centre, has warned Italy not to over-hype their World Cup battle with Canada
Leonardo Ghiraldini, centre, has warned Italy not to over-hype their World Cup battle with Canada

Leonardo Ghiraldini has warned Italy not to over-hype their pivotal World Cup clash with Canada.

Leicester hooker Ghiraldini admits Italy will be out of quarter-final contention if they suffer defeat to the Canucks at Leeds' Elland Road on Saturday.

The 30-year-old is refusing to brand Italy's second World Cup encounter their biggest-ever match however, calling on Jacques Brunel's men to keep their heads in battle.

Italy will again be without talismanic captain Sergio Parisse, the number eight still battling to recover after suffering a haematoma on his calf.

"There are four matches and we can't be saying that this is the match of our lives," said Ghiraldini.

"We know after the match against France that if we want to qualify we have to win.

"We need to deserve our win and it is important we eradicate the errors from last weekend, namely our ill-discipline.

"We know it will be physically tough."

Italy lost their opening World Cup match 32-10 to France at Twickenham last weekend, with the Azzurri well aware of the repercussions for another defeat.

Ghiraldini admitted Italy will be under huge pressure to see off Canada, in a match they will be expected to win.

"We have only played one match at this World Cup and after losing three in the summer we are coming off four defeats in a row," said Ghiraldini.

"We want to play a fantastic match and enjoy a magnificent win, but it won't be easy.

"We saw how they played against Ireland, when they did lots of good things.

"We will have to work hard."

Canada were overwhelmed 50-7 by Ireland in their World Cup opener in Cardiff last weekend, the Canucks now seeking a victory for a tournament foothold against the Italians.

All-time leading points-scorer James Pritchard is back in the squad despite missing out on initial selection, the Bedford Blues star slotting in for the injured Liam Underwood.

"It was a massive decision to leave James (Pritchard) out of the original squad," said Canada's head coach Kieran Crowley, able to bring fit-again captain Tyler Ardron back into his side.

"James has been an outstanding servant to Canadian rugby, the highest points-scorer.

"As I said to him at the time the mix of the squad had gone past him, but I told him to be ready.

"He announced his retirement but he said if the opportunity came up in the World Cup that he was available.

"He's obviously been playing and training with Bedford and it's great to bring him in.

"Now they might stop the 'bring back Pritch' bandwagon that was going on!"

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