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We can beat Wales.

Sergio Parisse is expecting a rigorous physical examination against Wales on Saturday, but remains confident Italy can kick-start their Six Nations campaign with a victory over the reigning champions.

The Azzurri will claim yet another wooden spoon if they lose to the Welsh at the Millennium Stadium, having already suffered spirited defeats to Ireland, England and France.

Wales, however, have struggled this year and have lost the spark, especially in their backs, that brought them the Grand Slam in the 2005 Six Nations.

Parisse, the Stade Francais number eight, believes the Welsh pack will ask questions of the Azzurri forwards but has not ruled out an upset in Cardiff.

'I saw Wales when they played Scotland and also against Ireland,' said the 21-year-old.

'They play a style somewhere between that of the English and the French.

'They are a physical team, but we can beat them on Saturday if we are on top of our game.'

A debatable refereeing decision proved to be the difference in Italy's opening game against Ireland, which finished 26-16.

And they posed England many problems in Rome before finally cracking in a 31-16 loss.

And a real shock loomed when they took a 12-8 half-time lead over France in Paris a fortnight ago, before Les Bleus ended up comfortable 37-12 winners.

Parisse added: 'We have to be careful and play like we did against Ireland and England.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 8, 2006
Previous Article:Irish 'in transition'.

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