Italy vs Australia: Talking points ahead of Saturday’s autumn international between Italy and Australia at Stadio Euganeo in Padua (kick-off 2pm).
Italy going for the kill
Italy are looking to turn the screw on Michael Cheika and gun for their first win over ailing Australia, who are in the mire after a terrible recent run of results.
Pressure is mounting on Wallabies coach Cheika thanks to the two-time world champions gaining just three wins from 11 Tests this season, with the latest defeat coming against Wales in Cardiff last weekend.
Italy have lost all 17 matches they have played with Australia, with nine of those defeats coming on Italian soil.
“Coming off a win always helps from in terms of mood and self-confidence,” said Italy forwards coach Giampiero De Carli after last weekend’s 28-17 win over Georgia.
“Australia are a team with a high level of technical skill. We’ll have to try to keep up the pressure and to be sharper in attack, but the support of our crowd will surely be a help.”
There has been speculation that defeat at the Stadio Euganeo could be the final straw for 51-year-old Cheika, whose side have slipped to seventh in the world rankings.
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 1 Andrea Lovotti, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Dean Budd, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Jake Polledri, 8 Abraham Steyn.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore’, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Luca Morisi.
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Jake Gordon; 1 Scott Sio, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 3 Taniela Tupou, 4 Izack Rodda, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 8 David Pocock,
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jermaine Ainsley 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Will Genia, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Dane Haylett-Petty.