Six Nations: Wales changes will motivate Italy, says Martyn Williams

Sergio Parisse
Italy captain Sergio Parisse could use Wales' changes to motivate his side in Cardiff
Six Nations: Wales v Italy
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday, 11 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Italy will be motivated by Wales' changes for Sunday's Six Nations match in Cardiff, says Martyn Williams.

The ex-Wales skipper says by making 10 changes coach Warren Gatland has helped Italy coach Connor O'Shea's team talk.

And former Italy scrum-half Paul Griffen says Italy will feel Wales' selection lacks respect.

"In Italy it will be seen as disrespectful because they are not playing their best team," Griffen told BBC Wales Sport.

"People will look at it and say we're not winning games, we're not playing to 100 per cent of our capability but why do Wales have to do this?

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Gatland said he is still fielding a high-calibre team despite the sweeping changes

"Wales could go on and finish second in the Six Nations so why would they make this many changes?"

Gatland has changed seven of the pack and three backs after the 37-27 defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

He told a news conference on Wednesday there was enough experience returning in the shape of number eight Taulupe Faletau and wing George North to cope with the changes.

Wales also face a six-day turnaround before their final Six Nations match against France in Cardiff on 17 March.

Italy have lost their three matches so far this season against England, Ireland and France.


Williams does not believe Wales are being disrespectful, but says Italy could use the selection as motivation.

"That is such an easy team talk now for Connor O'Shea and Sergio Parisse," he said.

"They'll say 'they have disrespected us' which I don't think Wales have - they are worrying about themselves - they are not going to win the tournament, and Gatland is looking for a year down the line.

"But having had southern hemisphere teams do that to us before when I was with Wales, straight away you've got a chip on your shoulder that they are disrespecting you so it's 'let's go and prove them wrong'.

"That would be my only concern."

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