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Italy's Carlo Canna not fooled by Eddie Jones' praise

Published 11/02/2016

Italy fly-half Carlo Canna, pictured, insists he is not fooled by praise from England head coach Eddie Jones
Italy fly-half Carlo Canna, pictured, insists he is not fooled by praise from England head coach Eddie Jones

Italy's new fly-half Carlo Canna is not fooled by Eddie Jones' praise ahead of facing England in Rome's RBS 6 Nations clash on Sunday.

England coach Jones compared Azzurri playmaker Canna to former Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham and hailed the Test newcomer's "promise".

Zebre playmaker Canna is wary of the ulterior motives behind wily boss Jones' words however, fully expecting England to target him at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.

"Compliments are nice, but Jones' tactics could actually be to try to increase the pressure on me ahead of Sunday," said Canna, who impressed despite Italy's 23-21 defeat to France in Paris last weekend.

"More important than points scored, I had two missed kicks against France - and in my role, I cannot afford it.

"The match with France is gone, but we paid for a little bit of inexperience and that made the difference in the final score.

"Now we must work to give England a hard time."

Former policeman Canna has emerged as Italy's preferred playmaker and will bid to end an extended period of the Azzurri chopping and changing their fly-half.

While Italy tend to opt for a more direct approach through the centres, Canna admitted England's dual playmaker style presents a big challenge.

England's no-nonsense Australian boss Jones has opted to pair George Ford and Andy Farrell at 10 and 12 in the absence of injured duo Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade.

Canna admitted Italy know exactly what to expect from that pairing, with England aiming to squeeze field position and territory once again this weekend.

"The decision to field Ford alongside Farrell, I find it really interesting," said Canna.

"Both are players of great quality who can make a valuable contribution to the team.

"So we have two opponents to watch, which will be different from the French.

"They will try to keep the team on the front foot through the pack, then try to open the game after that.

"We have to be better-prepared for this than we were against France."

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