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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 16:37 GMT
Thomas targets feared Italy duo
Italy's Marco Bortolami
Marco Bortolami is due to return for Italy against Wales on Saturday
Jonathan Thomas says Wales must be clinical and target Italy's most feared forwards in their Six Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Marco Bortolami should return at lock from injury, while star Italy number eight Sergio Parisse is also a threat.

Ospreys flanker Thomas said: "It's good to face world-class players and Parisse is definitely one of them.

"Bortolami is another talisman and we have to stop him early. It's important we are clinical at the weekend."

Thomas says he and his team-mates cannot afford to take the visitors lightly, citing their recent record against Wales and the impact of Nick Mallett as Italy's post-World Cup coach.

As a pack we need to be on our toes and make sure we take the game to them and not vice versa
Jonathan Thomas

Wales lost 23-20 in Rome last season and drew 18-18 in their 2006 Cardiff encounter.

"We did well in the 2005 Grand Slam against them in Italy," said Thomas. "Since then we've had a couple of average performances against them.

"Italy have caused us problems in the past, so it's really important that we bring a real focus to training and put in a good performance.

"They have a good scrum and line-out. Over the last five years they have built into a fairly formidable side and with a new coach in Nick Mallett they'll be pretty confident coming to Cardiff.

"They've had some good results against us, but it's up to us. It's all about mental toughness going into the game to ensure we execute what we do in training during the game.

"It's been difficult for Mallett. It's difficult for a coach to put his stamp on a team in three weeks, but it seems they are a fairly tough side to play against.


"They are fairly combative at the breakdown and elsewhere. They pushed Ireland close and England close in the second half of that game, so we have to make sure we concentrate.

"There's no doubt the strength of their game is based on their liking for heavy traffic, but we've prepared a lot in training this week for that.

"As a pack we need to be on our toes and make sure we take the game to them and not vice versa."

Wales will be seeking their third tournament win, having beaten England at Twickenham and comfortably dealt with Scotland in Cardiff to set up a Triple Crown tilt against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, 8 March.

"A lot of focus has been put on the potential Triple Crown against Ireland, but as people we would be very foolish to try to look any further than Italy," Thomas added.

BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales


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