Six Nations: Italians refute suggestions of complacency

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ITALY captain Sergio Parisse dismissed a suggestion from Italian journalists that his side underestimated Scotland on Saturday and insisted that they would provide a stern response in their next match at home to Wales.

Parisse has enjoyed the taste of success against Scotland and felt defeat, home and away, and he insisted that Scotland were a better team than their results in recent championships have shown. However, when pressed on whether his side thought they would be easier opponents in the wake of victories against the Scots last year and over France last week, he was not a happy man.

“If you think we underestimated Scotland, maybe you don’t know our team very well,” he said

“We were not arrogant and we did not underestimate Scotland. I think that we want to play open rugby and maybe we played too much open rugby in this game. That was the issue for me.

“It is a very disappointing defeat, definitely. But I want to pay tribute to Scotland for the way they slowed us down at the ruck. We have a responsibility for what happened at the ruck, of course, because we gave slow ball to our nine and ten. But, while two of the Scottish tries were quite lucky, I would underline that they played very well in defence and attack.

“Every time it is difficult when you lose. If we were playing Wales next week it would be difficult, but we have a week where we don’t play and time to understand why we lost this game, and we will come back to get it right for the game in Rome against Wales. One week ago we were on a high and we must take positives even from this game. The Six Nations is long and we have an extra week now to prepare for the game against Wales.”

Italy’s coach, Frenchman Jacques Brunel, agreed that the Murrayfield defeat had shown their desire to try and develop a more expansive, dangerous game, which had caught France on the hop, to still be a work in progress.

“I think that’s the price we pay to keep on growing,” he said. “Today we certainly paid a high price.

“The Scots defended really well and there were many issues with our speed and defence throughout the game as well. We played in such an individual way.

“Our main fault was not to adapt to the game and the way Scotland played, I feel. But, as Sergio has said, Scotland is a great team and they had a great summer tour after last year’s Six Nations. They had a difficult November, but we knew they would be strong again and so it proved.

“We now have a week to look back at this game and work out how we improve to face Wales in two weeks, and we will.”