ITALY PICK UP PIECES

AFTER a long Six Nations campaign the touring Italian rugby team can be forgiven for feeling slightly battle-weary.

AFTER a long Six Nations campaign the touring Italian rugby team can be forgiven for feeling slightly battle-weary.

Just one win against Scotland (16-12) and now a tough two-Test tour of South Africa at the end of their season is not an easy schedule.

Thrashed 29-13 by the Boks in Witbank last weekend, forwards coach for the touring side Carlo Orlandi isn't looking for excuses going into tomorrow's match at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London.

"We've been a bit disappointed by some of the mistakes the guys made in Witbank, but overall we played a good game," Orlandi told Sowetan yesterday.

"Our line-outs and scrum have been good. now we want to try and build up some more attacking rugby."

After last week's game, captain Sergio Parisse spoke of the honour of playing against the world champions in their own back yard.

It's a sentiment echoed by Orlandi: "Playing the reigning world champions always gives an extra boost to a player, so even if we're approaching the end of our season, the guys are feeling well and want to improve on last week's performance."

And there's no reason why they shouldn't.

In Mirco Bergamasco, Luke McLean and Kaine Robertson they have a back three who on their day can tear any opposition's defence to shreds.

Head coach Nick Mallett is fortunate to have a full touring party to call on except for the burly prop Martin Castrogiovanni, who left the field early last week.

"We travelled on Sunday (to East London) and did some gym work on Monday. During the week we had some good workouts," Orlandi said. The game was sold out last month, but don't despair: it will be shown on SuperSport1 at 3pm and on SABC2 at 5pm.

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