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Giomamo - capisco bene ma - Mallett is not the problem. Most people agree that Italy's major failing is in the half backs - playing at half back is so dependent on instinct that it only comes from years of experience, starting at school. A coach can only refine the skills of the scrum half and stand-off, he cannot put those instincts in place - seeing the game, the placing of the opposition, the dynamics of the way the ball will be delivered - going forward/going back, position on the field, who is available to take the ball beyond the receiver, is the full back behind the line or running into it to add some pace? Too many factors to mention and too many to be taught. The next problem to sort out is the need to think and act like a team, both in supporting other players and in putting trust in them. The performance against Ireland was not an aberration, Italy played well if still in a limited way - so does the coach take credit for that, does he become a poor coach from one week to the next? Rugby is a unique mixture of individual and team contributions, unlike football, which is more dependent on individuals, Mi dispiace, but you're thinking in football terms not rugby.
Posted 10:07 19th February 2011
Saturday's performance was a massive disappointment for Italian fans. Must remember that a few years ago these results were frequent. The team has come far considering a much tighter score was expected. I understand the frustration however and it was demoralising watching it.
Oquera's defence was woeful on Saturday, not sure why Burton was dropped after doing nothing too wrong against Ireland.
Italy must remember they played well against Ireland last week and should have won. The week break is good for Italy. Wales may have won on Saturday but they are not playing as well in attack as England are at the moment and less likely to cut loose. Italy should remember 2003 and 2007, they can beat Wales. They will have to raise their performance from Saturday though and kick all their points.
Hopefully Paul Derbyshire is fit for this game to play in the back row with Zanni and Parisse. Ongaro is worth a start as he is better in the tight than Ghilardini who could make an impact with 15/20 minutes to go.
I would like to see Italy's backline to be: 9. Canavosio 10. Burton 11. Bergamasco 12. Masi 13. Canale 14. Benvenuti or Robertson 15. Mclean. Think Sgarbi is a decent prospect but Masi is a centre and the gamble of playing a more attacking wing should be one Mallet takes but probably won't.
Posted 00:15 15th February 2011
I have nothing personal against Mallett, i know he made a great job as Boks' trainer but...he came as italian trainer with that aptitude and mind approach. Unfortunately, we are not SA, we haven't their tradition. So he tried to change top players approach and self-confidence to matches and that's good, but, at the same time, he made lot of continues changes in some key roles. How many young players had few opportunities and then were fired? Picone, Toniolatto, Nitoglia, Pratichetti, Marcato, Staibano...and so on. Lo Cicero put out and now is capped again. Masi began his national player career as centre, then 'became' fly-half, then was moved to full back and now is a wing: that's confusion! Where are Bortolami and Robertson now?? Italian players need time to grow up, north&south emispheres players can be impact already at 22-23, ours are hardly before 25-26 (Parisse is an exception...). Yesterday "A" team was defeat by England 75-3!
Posted 12:03 13th February 2011
I feel for you giomamo, it was not a pretty sight. The lineout, defensive structure and attacking play were all woeful. The players are good enough so I must agree that it is the coaching. Player quality cannot be the issue as the side is packed with top European players who perform regularly in the Heineken Cup and across all positions now. The absence of Gori was felt I think as he looks to be the best Italian 9 since Troncon's retirement.
Posted 00:39 13th February 2011
A step-back with Mallett, after Berbizier's era. Don't forget the absurd Bergamasco's scrum-half experiment against England two years ago, the terrible home lessons by Ireland and France in 2009 and the continuing changes at scrum-half and fly-half positions. Even the only win over Fiji, in november's tests, was reached just with kicks, neither a single try! He had to developed a solid attacking game, but he failed...it's time to change the trainer for Italy! Anyway, italian rugby federation must work more and more to enlarge practitioners' number, it can't think to improve just inserting into the Magners League two top-team (Treviso and Aironi), full of foreigners players...
Posted 19:28 12th February 2011