Parisse confident ‘strong’ Scots team will be beaten
ITALY skipper Sergio Parisse insists he is not arrogant enough to think the Azzurri are better than Scotland but is confident his side can triumph today.
Both sides go into the Stadio Olimpico duel looking for their first wins of this year’s RBS 6 Nations.
The hosts triumphed over Vern Cotter’s side last year in Edinburgh with a last-gasp penalty try as their driven line-out bulldozed through the feeble Scottish defence.
It was sweet revenge for Scotland’s own late, late show in Rome back in 2014, when a 79th-minute drop goal snatched victory from the hosts.
Parisse says another tight affair is likely to be played out in Rome but has backed his side to edge it. He said: “It would be arrogant on my part to say we are better than Scotland in the forwards or in the backs.
“I think they are a really strong team – but I think we are a really strong team too. I’m confident in our strengths.
“Everyone is talking about this game and how both Scotland and Italy have no victories in their opening two matches, so this weekend is a crucial match. In the past we lost against them here in Rome with a last-minute dropgoal but last year we went to Murrayfield and got a try late in the match to win too.
“So you know that Scotland-Italy matches are always hard, always tough to win. Maybe we have more pressure because we are playing at home. We know we can lose to them but we also know we can beat them. If we play the right game we have the possibility to have a good result at the end.”
Azzurri head coach Jacques Brunel has been forced to recall Kelly Haimona to start at fly-half after injury ruled out Carlo Canna, who earned praise after his impressive shows against France and England.
But Parisse has backed Haimona to take his chance to shine.
“Carlo has improved a lot in the last two matches and has been really good for the team,” he said. “Fly-half is a position that we’ve had a lot of changes in over the last year. But I think for the future Carlo, Kelly and even Tommaso Allan can prove themselves to be the men to start in that role for Italy.
“Now it’s a chance for Kelly to show he can improve and be part of the team.”
UPBEAT: Italy captain Sergio Parisse, who will win his 117th cap today, is hopeful of victory over Scotland