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O’Shea vows to continue ‘experimenting’ during World Cup warm-ups

O’Shea vows to continue ‘experimenting’ during World Cup warm-ups

Italy Squad Training, UL, Limerick 6/8/2018 Head coach Conor O'Shea Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea says he will continue to experiment in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup after the Azzurri put 13 tries past Russia.

A resounding 85-15 win was O’Shea’s first during the World Cup warm-up period after suffering defeat at the hands of Ireland in their first preparation game.

Ranked 20th in the world, Russia did not pose much of an obstacle for O’Shea’s men but he remained pleased with the way his players handled the changes he threw at them and signalled his intent to continue doing as the World Cup approaches.

“We showed our intensity in the game with the ball and without the ball,” said O’Shea.

“Obviously there were mistakes, but we were good at giving little to Russia during the game.

“It was an important test where we experimented with some things, just as we will with France and England.

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“We wanted to put the Russians under pressure, causing them to kick the ball and then counterattack with fast players like Jayden Hayward, Michele Campagnaro or Matteo Minozzi.”

“We know our level and how dangerous we can be ball in hand. I always see the glass half full and I am satisfied with the performance of the boys, also due to the absence of injuries.”

The scoreline represented Italy’s second-highest ever total, a 104-8 demolition of the Czech Republic in 1994 being top of the list, and saw talisman and captain Sergio Parisse register a try as he equalled George Gregan’s tally of 139 Test appearances.

“Russia is a respectable adversary, even if objectively from another level than ours. In any case, ending our race with more than 80 points scored is a performance that we will certainly remember,” said Parisse.

Italy visit France and England before heading to Japan for the World Cup next month.