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Parisse expecting no NZ favours

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/11/2016 Angelo Risso

The All Blacks may have named a much-changed line-up for Saturday's Test in Rome but Italy skipper Sergio Parisse isn't expecting an easy run.

Parisse, 33, will earn his 120th cap for Gli Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico, leading out an inexperienced line-up against the world champions.

Benetton Treviso halfback Giorgio Bronzini will make his debut, while another eight players have fewer than 20 Test caps.

But the All Blacks have a fair amount of inexperience themselves, with less than half of the starting XV against Italy having fewer than 20 caps.

Parisse said that while his side's opponents were also green, they would also be motivated to prove their worth at the highest level to All Blacks coaches.

"They're going to do simple things but right, and they have really good skills, so the players for tomorrow are great players and are really physical," Parisse said.

"Whatever the New Zealand team, whatever team they have tomorrow, it's still the All Blacks."

The Kiwis were surprisingly knocked over by Ireland 40-29 last weekend in Chicago, as the Irish produced the goods in defence and at the set-piece.

But despite the shock result, Parisse felt his side would be up against it.

"No way, for us it's still such a great defence, it'll be really hard for us to score tries," he said.

Lining up in his customary No.8 role against the All Blacks, Parisse and fellow stalwarts Leonardo Ghiraldini and Luke McLean will look to instill a sense of calm into their young side.

But the Stade Francais loosie felt the instalment of Irish coach Conor O'Shea had given his side a new lease on life, with an additional level of analysis, education and strategy.

Parisse was confident his troops could handle the pressure.

"Every single match has bad times and good times, times under pressure, so this is going to be a key from the mental point of view," Parisse said.

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