O’Shea keen to bring out the best in Italy

Date published: June 10 2016

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has set himself the goal of being in charge of the best-ever Azzurri side.

O'Shea's coaching tenure starts against Argentina in Santa Fé on Saturday and although only four players – wings Leonardo Sarto and David Odiete, prop Andrea Lovotti and lock Quintin Geldenhuys – were in the starting line-up in Italy's previous match – a 67-14 Six Nations defeat against Wales in Cardiff in March – the former Harlequins director of rugby is determined to turn the Azzurri into a competitive unit.

"I want this to be the best Italian team ever," he told AFP.

"I played against a fantastic Italian team in the 1990s and I think we can become even better than that team." 

O'Shea has identified fitness, or a lack thereof, as a key reason for Italy's struggles and believes if they can improve in that department there will be an improvement in their results.

"Italy always start fast but as the match progresses they get slower and slower," he added.

"We have to change that and identify the players who can help us. 

"I love my teams to play with the ball in hand, but you cannot do that, for example, if you cannot make your tackles."