Sergio Parisse has conceded that France are in better technical and physical shape but that Italy have the mental resolve to win.
The Italian captain, who plies his trade in France with Stade Français, acknowledged in the build-up to Saturday’s match that while Italy had pushed France close in recent years, winning in 2011 and 2013, there had also been a number of occasions where they have come out second best by some distance.
Italy are yet to win in this year’s competition but will view this weekend’s fixture in Rome against les Bleus as one of their best chances to get off the mark in the competition under Conor O’Shea.
“You talk about these three matches [when Italy have been close] but we’ve played a lot of others where we took 30, 40 or 50 points,” Parisse told AFP.
“We don’t have the same technical or physical qualities but we’re a team which has mental resources.
“So the ingredients… like always it’s the battle, to be a team which hangs in there, which doesn’t give up, which piles on the pressure.
“We’re ready to give it everything so that France are under pressure until the end, for 80 minutes.
“France are a much stronger team than us, like England two weeks ago.
“Simply if we cause them problems, under pressure, they are a bit like us, they can lose their coherence and look for individual solutions.”