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Italians In To Learn: O’Shea

Italians In To Learn: O’Shea
Italian rugby side during training at Albert Park in Suva on June 14, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar
June 16
10:00 2017

The Italians will not only be gunning for their first win in Fiji but the test should be a learning experience for the young players in the squad.

These were the comments by Azzurri head coach Conor O’Shea after the final 23-member squad was named yesterday to play the Vodafone Flying Fijians on Saturday at the ANZ Stadium.

With Italy only winning five out of 10 matches against Fiji in their previous clashes, none have been on Fiji’s home ground.

O’Shea said while they are hungry for a win, they are also focused on making sure their young players soak up the experience they need as they are building a team for the future.

“We feel that we have a lot of youth in the team and a lot of potential as well,” O’Shea said.

“It is important to come on tour, it would have been easier for us to have kept the most experienced players in the team but we want to see people like Marcello Violi and Abraham Steyn have an opportunity to start.

“We want to win, like we do in every match but we also want to build for the future, we know a lot of the games we play are determined by small things that happen on the pitch.

“Our mindset and mental strength has to change, we have a lot to change off the field to give these players the perfect opportunity.

“But we feel we got a good balance here of a lot of young players who have huge potential to grow in years to come.

“We know that Fiji will be on top of us for large periods of the game and they are brilliant rugby players and our young players will have to start to understand the momentum and grow.

“We know we have a lot to do to catch up to the top teams in the world but we will do it with the mental strength that we build by having tough matches like we have this Saturday.

“We have not won on Fijian soil and we are not going out to lose either.”

Playing in front of the home crowd, O’Shea said it will be one to savour.

“I have been absolutely blown away by the people, it is just special, the reaction you get when driving around the place is just incredible, everyone is waving and so friendly,” he said.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and I can imagine the atmosphere will be one that you should savour.”

Edited by Osea Bola




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