- 2 Mar 07, 12:07 PM
Cardiff - The general impression I’ve been getting from around the country this week is that the majority of Welsh fans see their team as the underdogs for next week’s game with Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.
If that’s correct, it’s the first time it’s happened - although I imagine that moods will swing back to the usual ridiculous Welsh optimism as we build towards the fixture!
I don’t have any scientific facts to back up the theory, so I thought I’d throw it open and see what the mood of the nation is.
Personally, I still think that Wales will win (that ridiculous optimism I was talking about?!).
The Italian pack have been hugely impressive, but they were gifted those three early tries by Scotland – and I still think that the Scots would have won if they’d chosen to take their kicks at goal.
Going for penalty kicks to the corner from in front of the posts when the game was less than 10 minutes old was just crazy.
Wales will know where the Italian challenge is coming from, but can they contain it?
Their pack’s performance in losing to Scotland at Murrayfield would suggest not, while being starved of possession cost them any chance in Paris.
But Gareth Jenkins will analyse the Italians well and prepare his pack, as he did before a reasonably impressive showing against Ireland.
The lack of possession in Paris was largely down to a wasteful kicking game.
Hopefully Wales will have learnt from that, and with the extra strike-running power of Gareth Thomas behind I think they will have too much for the Azzurri.