Mallett backing Bortolami
Nick Mallett is hoping the recall of Marco Bortolami will give Italy's forwards a much-needed boost for their clash against England.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 13/02/10 2:28pm
Italy coach Nick Mallett is hoping the recall of Marco Bortolami will give his forwards a much-needed boost for their RBS Six Nations clash against England.
The South African admits he was frustrated by his team's display in Dublin last weekend when they went down 29-11 to Ireland, and has placed the majority of the blame with his pack.
Mallett is calling for improvement in the lineout ahead of Sunday's showdown in Rome and believes Bortolami's presence will make all the difference.
"It's never just one person's fault, it's often a combination of getting the call wrong or the jumper's support not being quite on the spot or the lineout being overthrown," said Mallett.
"So there were a lot of reasons for us not being good, the main one being Ireland playing the lineout very well.
"But I think that Marco Bortolami is recognised as Italy's best lineout exponent in terms of organisation and we're looking forward to having him back and organising our line-out."
England manager Martin Johnson has named a relatively inexperienced front row, including international debutant Dan Cole, but Mallett insists his side will not be taking them lightly.
"I know they have worked very, very hard on their scrummaging this week and on integrating those (inexperienced) players and they also worked hard on defending the maul, so they're very aware of where we have been strong in the past," said Mallett.
"But I must say I was disappointed with our front five against Ireland, particularly in the primary phases, and not only in the lineout, I think that in the scrums we can still improve on what we showed there.
"It's obviously an area we pride ourselves in and not only against England but any team we play against we'd like to get some momentum there."
Mallett is demanding improvement not only his pack but in his side's entire attacking game.
"After this (Ireland) match we were very disappointed with our attack for two reasons, firstly in the first phase we weren't ready and then we were too slow getting the ball out," he said.
"It's not just the forwards, sometimes our scrum-half (Tito Tebaldi) was too slow and played safety rather than more expansive so we've worked a lot on that this week.
"But a player like Tito has only played six or seven Test matches and is still improving so we shouldn't criticise him too much.
"He has the ability to improve and he needs to learn that when under pressure he should slow down the ball to give us time to organise ourselves but when we're in attack he needs to be quicker."