You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Italy lacking in confidence: O'Shea

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/11/2016 Angelo Risso

Italy rugby coach Conor O'Shea speaks to reporters. © Luca Bruno/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Italy rugby coach Conor O'Shea speaks to reporters. Italy boss Conor O'Shea admits his troops currently lack the self-belief to challenge the world's best but is confident it is only a matter of time before they break the cycle.

Gli Azzurri will clash with the All Blacks on Saturday on the back of some solid Test form, having defeated USA and Canada and pushed Argentina all the way in June.

However the country's two Pro12 sides, Benetton Treviso and Zebre, languish at the bottom of the championship after eight games and have conceded a combined 471 points.

O'Shea, who took over in June, labelled the prospect of facing the All Blacks at Stadio Olimpico the perfect challenge for his men, but one that took place on a long spectrum of growth.

He had been hired to bring results in the here and now for Gli Azzurri, but also to lay the off-field foundations for improvement in the long-term.

This had already been carried out to perfection by O'Shea's native Ireland, who shocked the rugby world by putting 40 points on New Zealand in last week's win.

"The Irish game plan has developed over the past five, six, seven years," O'Shea said.

"That Irish win isn't one win in the middle of nothing, it's a plan over a long time of changing and some great players weren't part of that team."

The former 35-cap Test fullback has dropped some surprises in his starting XV for Saturday's match, with Australian-born veteran Luke McLean moving from fullback to centre.

Benetton halfback Giorgio Bronzini will make his debut from the first minute, while Zebre winger Giulio Bisegni slots in on the right edge.

The ever-present Sergio Parisse, meanwhile, will earn his 120th cap at No.8.

"We must have strong set-pieces but also mobility to cover the pitch," O'Shea said.

"We want to see a team that plays 80 minutes, not with passion for just the first five or 10."

After struggling to contain the Irish lineout drive in last weekend's loss in Chicago, the All Blacks have pin-pointed the Italian set-piece as a particular threat for this weekend.

Yet O'Shea denied Ireland had shown his side the blueprint for toppling the fearsome All Blacks outfit, saying his side would play in their own way.

"We'll look at the workrate of the players doing their job, and having the body language that they'll never be beaten," O'Shea said.

"That's what I want to see, and whatever happens, happens."

Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Angelo Esposito, Carlo Canna, Giorgio Bronzini, Sergio Parisse (capt), Simone Favaro, Maxime Mbanda, Andries van Schalkwyk, Marco Fuser, Lorenzo Cittadini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Ornel Gega, Sami Panico, Pietro Ceccarelli, George Biagi, Francesco Minto, Edoardo Gori, Tommaso Allan, Tommaso Boni.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon