Six Nations 2017: Italy captain Sergio Parisse says they have quality to beat Wales

Sergio Parisse
Sergio Parisse will win his 122nd cap for Italy when they face Wales in Rome on Sunday

Italy captain Sergio Parisse believes his team has the quality to beat Wales, but cannot afford to slacken in the later stages in Rome on Sunday.

Wales have scored 60 points in their last two Six Nations games against the Azzurri, punishing them in the last 20 minutes on both occasions.

Meanwhile, Italy have not beaten Wales in the Six Nations for 10 years.

"The last two years against Wales we have had tough results in Rome and Cardiff," 33-year-old Parisse said.

"We approach the match to play with intensity for 80 minutes and I think we have enough quality to win the match.

"But first of all we need to perform for 80 minutes."

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Remembering Wales' 'whistlegate' defeat

The Stade Francais number eight was man of the match the last time Italy beat Wales in 2007.

He said his side have changed their preparation for the Wales, with intense physical sessions in the week leading up to the game.

Parisse believes the introduction of a bonus point for a team scoring four tries means Italy's opponents will target them late in games.

"We are trying to make sure we don't slow down at the 60-minute mark," he said.

"I'd say I'm really confident we'll put in a good performance for 80 minutes.

"Obviously in every single match you have little details that can be positive for you or negative and that's going to be the difference between winning and losing the match."

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Wales interim coach Rob Howley has resisted the temptation to experiment with younger players in Rome, selecting a starting XV with more than 600 caps.

Parisse thinks that is not necessarily a compliment to Italy, but reflects Wales' need to make a good start in the tournament.

"I think the coach made his choices not about respecting us but about the quality of his own players and fitness," he said.

"They have picked a team with that experience because he thinks they'll need more experience to win this match."

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