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Wales ‘not being disrespectful’ with team selection – Italy boss O’Shea

The 47-year-old rejected comments made by former Italy scrum-half Griffen.

Conor O’Shea has dismissed any notion that Wales have been disrespectful to Italy by making 10 changes for Sunday’s NatWest 6 Nations clash.

Former Azzurri scrum-half Paul Griffen told the BBC that Wales’ line-up would be seen in Italy as being disrespectful, given the number of switches following their defeat against Ireland last tine out.

But Italy boss O’Shea gave that verdict short shrift in Cardiff on Friday.

“They are not being disrespectful,” O’Shea told reporters.

“Warren (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) is obviously looking ahead to the future, and we are both at different stages.

“I remember working with Warren when I was a player and he came in when Ireland were at a low ebb.

“He started a process there for the future, and you have to start somewhere. Scotland had to do it, and the results Scotland are having now isn’t about one coach coming in, it’s about people five, six or seven years ago doing what’s right.

“That’s what we are doing. If you look at some of the young players we are blooding, it’s promising.

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George North File Photo

“I know I am judged on results, but frankly I don’t care. What we will do is what’s right.

“‘Gats’ has done brilliantly, and I know he is trying to evolve his depth, but if you are bringing the likes of (George) North and (Taulupe) Faletau in and putting Liam Williams to full back, it’s a pretty good place to be.”

Italy’s solitary change for the Principality Stadium encounter sees centre Giulio Bisegni replacing Tommaso Boni, while Oliviero Fabiani, Giovanni Licata and Guglielmo Palazzani all feature among the replacements after missing out against France in Marseille a fortnight ago.

Italy have suffered three successive defeats in this season’s Six Nations, conceding 136 points and 18 tries.

But O’Shea added: “Are we far off? No, we are not.

“But at this level you can get severely punished for the smallest mistake. You take that France game, it was 14-10 in the 58th minute, and when they got that score to go 21-10 up the energy of their team changed dramatically.

“These are top sides we are playing against. We aren’t playing against weak sides. Little things make massive differences.”

Italy team versus Wales: M Minozzi; T Benvenuti, G Bisegni, T Castello, M Bellini; T Allan, M Violi; A Lovotti, L Ghiraldini, S Ferrari, A Zanni, D Budd, S Negri, M Mbanda, S Parisse (capt).

Replacements: O Fabiani, N Quaglio, T Pasquali, F Ruzza, G Licata, G Palazzani, C Canna, J Hayward.

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