Six Nations: Italians have inside line on French
Italy captain Sergio Parisse believes the Azzurri could have an advantage going into their RBS Six Nations match against France today.
Parisse, who is on the books of Stade Francais, and seven others in the Italian starting XV, play club rugby in France.
“They are a great team but those of us that play in France know better the mentality of our rivals and their way of playing which could help us to anticipate their moves,” Parisse said.
While admitting there is an extra edge for the French-based Italians since they will square off against familiar faces, Parisse said: “It's not more important than any other match and it doesn't mean that we will be more motivated than before.”
Italy are still without a win in this year's tournament and they have never beaten France.
The Azzurri lost at home to Wales, 24-16, last time out having previously been trounced 59-13 by England at Twickenham.
“Against Wales, the team played a lot, especially in the second half,” said Mallett.
“Before we were unable to play that type of rugby, but I think it was an important indication that the team is growing.”
Mallett has made seven changes to the team that lost to Wales, with Racing-Metro Paris star Andrea Masi replacing Luke McLean at fullback.
The Azzurri are also bolstered by the return of centre Gonzalo Garcia.