Italy hold out hopes of upset win over England

·2-min read
Six Nations Championship - France v Italy
Six Nations Championship - France v Italy

ROME (Reuters) - Italy aim to be more than just competitive when they take on England in Rome on Saturday at the end of the Six Nations campaign, flanker Braam Steyn said on Tuesday.

"I think we can give any team a run for their money and we've proved this before. We are going to give them a real go. We believe in ourselves, we believe in what we are doing,” he said as Italy continued their preparations.

They host an England side who can potentially clinch the Six Nations title on Saturday, particularly if they record a bonus point win over their hosts.

Italy lost 50-17 to Ireland in Dublin last Saturday and have now been beaten in 26 successive Six Nations clashes stretching back to 2015, but Steyn insisted they were going into Saturday’s game aiming for success.

“Obviously we want to win, we want to clinch a result. We are determined to stop them, to show England what we are capable of.”

Defeat in Dublin came on the back of too many mistakes by the Italians, he added at a news conference.

“Many of the points scored by our opponent came from our mistakes in possession. We are working to be more clinical in attack and to prevent favourable situations from turning into opportunities for our opponents”.

“It’s a new chapter that started under (coach) Franco Smit and things have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Things were tough in Italy, we were in a complete lockdown compared to the opportunities that others in other countries still had to train.

“We literally had to start from fresh a few months ago and if we study the statistics there has been a lot of positive growth,” Steyn added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Hugh Lawson)