Italy coach John Kirwan has reaffirmed his anger at the 'unfair' World Cup draw as injuries have hit his preparations for the Group D showdown with Wales on Saturday.
A crowded schedule has hit Kirwan's preparations
Tuesday's 19-14 win over Canada cost the Azzurri the services of wing Mirco Bergamsco (fractured cheekbone) and lock Marco Bortolami (dislocated shoulder), while centre Andrea Masi (bruised hip) and scrum-half Alessandro Troncon (shoulder) are considered doubtful.
Kirwan stated it would be an "injustice" if the only factor that cost Italy
a spot in the quarter-finals was fatigue.
"I think our draw has made the World Cup unfair. We have no training runs
left, we have recovery and then we have a game against Wales," said Kirwan.
"I don't really need to explain what that means for a coach who should really
have seven days to get guys who get dinged up in a contact sport back on the
"We won't have any time to do any training. We haven't put too much emphasis
on training - we can't."
"If we should have won, but people see we were fatigued,
everyone will know - and they have to live with it.
"If Italy deserve to go to the top eight and they do on Saturday it will be
the greatest thing for world rugby, 60 million people are all starting to turn
on their televisions.
"But if we play well enough and we don't win because we are fatigued it will
be an incredible injustice."
In contrast to the crowded Italian schedule, Wales have had a week between each of their games and have targeted their preparations to peak against Italy.
Better news for the Azzurri, though, comes from the views of the coaches of their other Group D opponents.
Having faced both Wales and Italy, Canada coach Dave Clark and Tongan coach Jim Love have suggested that Italy are the stronger side.