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Gatland: Let's get off to flier.

Byline: MATT LLOYD

WARREN GATLAND has warned Wales not to get caught short by Italy today.

Wales are notoriously slow starters having only twice won the opening games of their last 10 campaigns.

And the last time they kicked-off the Six Nations against the Azzurri - in 2003 - they were humbled in Rome.

Now coach Gatland must make sure the Dragons are not again caught dozing in Cardiff, where the roof will be shut.

He said: "We have been guilty of starting slowly in the past so we have to make sure we don't get caught with our pants down.

"But this year we're in a great place - physically - which will have a positive impact to the way we start.

"We work harder than any other team, we have players coming back from injuries and athletes who have the X-factor to change a game."

Wales are chasing a historic hat-trick of titles despite the civil war between the Welsh Rugby Union and regions that threatens to escalate further this weekend when the deadline for agreement is set to pass without a deal.

But Gatland said: "The players must concentrate on putting on that red jttss jersey and the potential to do something special.

"The first thing we spoke about when the squad came together was about making history. As a coach, it's great to have a group of players with that focus."

probable line-ups wales italy McLean Esposito Campagnaro Sgarbi Sarto Allan Gori Rizzo Ghiraldini 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Halfpenny Cuthbert Williams Roberts North Priestland Phillips James Hibbard A Jones Charteris AW Jones (c) Lydiate Tipuric Faletau Castro'vanni Geldenhuys Bortolami Zanni Bergamasco Parisse (c)

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INTENT Warren Gatland wants a fast start from Wales
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2014
Words:295
Previous Article:WEIR STILL IN IT TOGETHER.
Next Article:'WE DON'T STRUT LIKE WELSH'.

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