Six Nations | Rugby
Andrew Robinson previews Italy’s chances in this season’s tournament. Honestly.
Italy always enter the Six Nations with a feeling of hope that this year will be the one where they make a big impact. One-off wins against the likes of Scotland, Wales and even France have been impressive, but could this be the year when they put it all together and make their mark?
With more of their players now playing for high profile clubs around Europe, it’s only a matter of time.
Six Nations History
If they want to do something they are battling against an awful Six Nations history. Since they were admitted to the tournament, they have picked up enough wooden cutlery that the pack and scrum half can have one each.
Things looked good for the Azzurri when they thumped Scotland in their first ever game, but things went downhill after that and it wasn’t until 2006 that they managed to win two games in one tournament, picking up back-to-back wins against Scotland and Wales.
Their only win against France came in 2011, when they picked up the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy.
The last five games have been a bit of a mixed bag for Italy, with three wins against Canada, US and Tonga, followed up by losses to New Zealand and Australia.
However, they did push the Wallabies close, losing 22-19, and if they bring that form into the Six Nations this week when they take on France at home, their price of 11/2 could be very appealing.
All of Italy’s games at home in the Stadio Olimpico are crucial for the Azzurri. The old Stadio Flaminio was the venue for their recent triumphs, but it is no longer large enough to host the games.
A move to the larger stadium has meant a loss of atmosphere, but this year Italy welcome France, Wales and Ireland to Rome and they need to perform well in these games to stay off the bottom of the table.
Their clash with Scotland at Murrayfield will also have been targeted for an away win for the side.
Players to watch
Italy captain Sergio Parisse is an all-action forward and would probably get into each of the other five teams in the competition, he’s that good. The Azzurri’s hopes rest on his shoulders and good performances from him tend to go hand-in-hand with win for Italy.
Canadian-born Robert Barbieri will be alongside his captain in the rough and tumble of the forwards, which is where Italy will be focused and his try-scoring record is something that the others will be wary off.
Italy have struggled in the backline in recent events, going backwards more than they go forwards. Tommaso Benvenuti is some of the new blood that is looking to change that and he’s been looked at by a host of top European clubs, so a good tournament could get him a move.
Italy’s Latest Six Nations betting odds with Paddy Power
Italy are 4/11 with Paddy Power to prop up the table this year, but if you think they can pull off a victory or two, they are 5/4 to pick up one win, 11/2 for two and 30/1 for a hat-trick, which would be an unprecedented success for the side.
- Betting: Six Nations 2013
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- Ireland Six Nations Betting Preview
- Wales Six Nations Betting Preview
- France Six Nations Betting Preview
- Scotland Six Nations Betting Preview
- Italy Six Nations Betting Preview