Planet Rugby

Italy out to rain on BOD's parade

07th March 2014 20:53

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Marco Bortolami France v Italy

Determined: Marco Bortolami

Stand-in Italy skipper Marco Bortolami claims his side can "destroy" Brian O'Driscoll's final home Test in Dublin on Saturday.

The second-row captains in the side in the absence of rested talisman Sergio Parisse, and is intent on spoiling the great man's party.

"I don't think they will change the way they play because of Brian's 140th game," said Bortolami.

"After the game I'm sure that will get some attention. But we will try to destroy this party for him.

"We don't want to disrespect him, but that's the way sport is. I'm sure it's a motivation for Ireland, but to be honest we haven't talked about that.

"We have to do our job, turn up and execute our gameplan, that's what we can control.

"Brian's one of the greatest, the way he has lasted so long and the qualities he has shown, it's amazing.

"It's very difficult to keep the same level for 15 years, and to be involved with Ireland for that long, to go on that many British and Irish Lions tours, it's amazing.

"It's been a pleasure to play against him many, many times, and I think everyone will agree with me on that."

Italy beat Ireland in this fixture last year, leading to Declan Kidney's departure from the head coach role, but the Irishmen are a different proposition under Kiwi Joe Schmidt. Indeed, the Azzurri have not triumphed in Dublin for 17 years.

"I think Ireland are very proud of what they can produce and their style of rugby right now," added Bortolami.

"I think they are sure they will win this game but they lost last year in Rome.

"We have come from a very tough game against Scotland last week

"We are underdogs, and we are under no illusions, but if we play a proper game we can put them under pressure.

"If you let them do what they want, they can control a game and they will win. The way they play yes, I do believe they are the best team.

"I wasn't surprised they lost last week, they were in control of the game, but opportunities didn't go their way."

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