Italy back Edoardo Padovani was one of the highlights for the Azzurri as they lost in their opening game of the Guinness Six Nations to Scotland.
He entered the match at Murrayfield in the 51st minute and scored the second of the three tries as they came back into the game late on.
If Wales win in Rome on Saturday against Italy (kick-off 4.45pm) they will equal the record of 11 consecutive Tests without defeat, a run last achieved between 1907 and 1910.
An unlikely run in modern rugby for a nation with annual games against giants like France and England and constantly struggling with nations like Ireland, at the top of the world ranking.
To reach the milestone they will have to storm the Olimpico and overcome an Italy side which was lethally punished by Gregor Townsend’s Scotland on every inaccuracy at Murrayfield last weekend.
In the last fifteen minutes, with the result almost confirmed, Italy arrived in the match through the centres Michele Campagnaro and Luca Morisi and the back three formed by Jayden Hayward, Angelo Esposito and Padovani.
At the end of the game we asked Zebre’s Padovani what is expected from the Olimpico challenge.
Edoardo, can Italy do it on Saturday in Rome?
“Well of course we must believe it and, in all honesty, we believe in it from the first to the last. We know that in order to do that we will have to play like in the last quarter of an hour with Scotland.
“We are all aware of the fact that it will be a war for the whole match and that it will be necessary to make it clear to Wales from the first minute that Rome will not be an easy win.”
What did not go right at Murrayfield?
“They created some beautiful tries, we must admit, but if we are honest with ourselves we must recognise that most of these have come from our own mistakes.
“They put us under great pressure but the two first-half tries came from possessions of ours lost in a free and banal manner, including the second from an error in the game.”
Wales come from a success in France that seemed unexpected. A match from which Gatland’s men have re-emerged from a 16-0 down to snatch victory at the end. What struck you most about the Wales’ performance in Paris?
“They had some excellent defensive sequences but did not have an excellent game.
“France were caught on wrong to the foot and gave away easy tries. The Welsh were really good to stay in the game and were very clinical to take advantage of the opportunities that were presented to them.”
What do you think the Azzurri have to put into practice to counter the threat of the Welsh?
“Well, we will have to first improve the performance and keep the discipline under control, which went well with Scotland.
“Obviously you will need to play a lot more in their half of the field and express a greater volume of play, controlling more possession and above all, as mentioned, managing to be more precise in our performance: especially inside the 22 metres and in the decisive stages of the match.
“Then we need to show ourselves in contact and in the one-on-one, both in attack and defence.”
In the week Warren Gatland said patience will be crucial for his side, recalling the game in 2015 when, after a very balanced first half (14-13), the Welsh scored 47 points in the second half. Do you expect the match to be close in the final 40 minutes of play?
“Yes, we are clearly aiming for a tight match. We will have to stay in the game for all 80 minutes of play if we want to beat Wales.
“I hope that Saturday in Rome we will manage to keep the score under control until the last minute, when the details will make the difference. I think in fact that the discipline in the last 15 to 20 minutes will be decisive.”