Italy tune into Russia-USA

(Rugby News Service) Thursday 15 September 2011
Italy tune into Russia-USA
Alessandro Zanni and his teammates will be watching Russia v USA

NELSON, 15 Sept. - Italy's team will have little choice over their Thursday evening viewing when Russia play USA in Pool C. 

The Italians will take a keen interest when the Bears make their Rugby World Cup debut against the Americans in New Plymouth, with those sides next up in the Azzurri schedule.

"Of course we will watch to see how they get on," flanker Alessandro Zanni said. "It is very important to see how they play, who to look for and what sort of form they are in.

"We shall watch it here at the hotel. We have an early start in the morning and so will watch the match all together in the team room."

Zanni is one of 12 players in the Italy squad who were involved the last time the teams met, in 2006. 

The 193cm, 103kg back row came off the bench as Italy ran out 67-7 victors in a Rugby World Cup 2007 qualifier in Moscow.

Much improved

"I played Russia in 2006 and we won well," Zanni said. "Russia have developed a lot since then and are much improved, so it will be very difficult.

"I've never seen the USA play, but I know they had a good start."

Zanni would dearly love to add to the solitary international try he scored against Canada in 2006.

Since then he has gone close in several matches, including in this year's Six Nations when he was held up over the line against Wales in Rome.

"Maybe I'm not that sort of player," he said. "I'm not someone who finds space or is sharp enough in the 22. 

"Besides I have other, more important, jobs to do."

RNS ji/ig/mr