On the eve of the challenge in Ireland, the blue captain admits that there is a basic problem in the team: “Quality must be kept constantly high”. But then he discovers another shortcoming: “We play without pressure, it can be an advantage”
The disastrous team and individual performance sent by Italy two weeks ago with England in Rome left a mark that captain Michele Lamaro summarizes with seriousness and harshness: “When you want to overdo it, instead of respecting the game plan, get the opposite effect and play backwards ”. This is exactly what the Azzurri had seen on the pitch in yet another disappointing performance, which was followed by one that was finally worthy of the level of the Six Nations, that of the debut in France.
Thus, in the week leading up to tomorrow’s match against Ireland in Dublin (4 pm), the aspect in question, Lamaro says, was the subject of careful scrutiny: “There was a lot of frustration after the match against ‘England, for the awareness of not being able to give the best. We analyzed that aspect, which moreover had already emerged in November after the good test with the All Blacks. When the need for the result gets in the way, when we think we can do it, we start to overdo it or go out of the game plan to want to show our skills and qualities and this puts us in difficulty collectively. And we find ourselves playing backwards, because in pursuit of something positive, we end up having the opposite effect. The solution? Stay on the game plan and focus on individual challenges “. Maybe even to try to improve the technical gesture? “In the group there is a lot of energy to exploit, but we have to grow in consistency and precision. In some moments of the game we express ourselves at a high level, but we cannot keep it for a few minutes and then make trivial mistakes: the quality must be kept high for 80 minutes. Then we also talk about the execution of the gesture: the match was prepared down to the smallest detail, but then we were unable to execute it correctly ”.
In presenting the match against Ireland, then, Lamaro, perhaps involuntarily, admits that in the blue group there is another very serious problem: “We are underdogs, therefore – says the blue captain – the pressure will be on them. We won’t have that much and therefore we will try to exploit this advantage ”. In a rugby of the highest level, such as that required by a Six Nations or a Championship or an English or French league, in this sentence emerges all the mental unpreparation of a group which, even if very young, should show itself at least of a high level. : It is precisely when the pressure rises that great teams and great players make the difference. Playing without pressure cannot be stimulating, while for Lamaro and Italy this seems to be a positive aspect: evidently having reached 99 defeats out of 112 games played in 23 years of Six Nations is not enough. “We have to think about our performance, individual and collective, sometimes we do less well for many factors, for our demerits, for the merits of the opponents, but the goal is to improve game after game. Compared to the Six Nations of a year ago we have a little more experience that can help us to face certain moments. The defense is going better, but it is growth that still needs to be built, because we have not been competitive so far. Perhaps we were only in a few moments, but certainly not as a whole “.
Irish coach Andy Farrell will debut 23-year-old Ulster extreme Michael Lowry with Italy and offer hooker Dan Sheenan his first chance as a starter, in fifth overall cap. On the wings there will be James Lowe, on the pitch for the first time in this edition, and Mack Hansen, who moves to the right (11 caps in 2). Recovered from the small muscle problem that had forced him to miss the challenge in France, Jonathan Sexton restarts from the bench, with Joey Carbery confirmed at the opening. The return to the third row of Peter O’Mahony, who will also be the captain, will result in the move of Caelan Doris to number 8.
15 Michael Lowry; 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe; 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park; 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (capitano); 5 Ryan Baird, 4 Tadhg Beirne; 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter A disposizione: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 James Hume.
February 26 – 16:19
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