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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Harris seeks Italy knock-out

By Iestyn Harris
Wales international

Not to reach the quarter-finals would be devastating and we must book our place by beating Italy on Saturday.

We were disappointed to lose to Italy in this year's Six Nations and it is at the back of our minds - but it's not up there at the front!

The most important thing is the quarter-final and this week Italy are the ones in our way and we've got to push them aside.

Italy lock Marco Bortolami suffered a dislocated shoulder against Canada
These confrontational games are as much about mental toughness as physical preparation

There's no question that we see reaching the quarter-finals as a very realistic aim and when you get there it's just game-by-game then.

We didn't beat Tonga in great style but the most important thing was to secure the win and we did that in a very tough, hard match.

Italy in turn were frustrated they had such a physical game against Canada, I don't think they expected that and perhaps they had one eye on the game against us.

But all credit to Canada - they took it to them and that's exactly what we wanted them to do for us.

The schedule has given us a slight advantage with Italy having played on Tuesday, whereas we've had a week's rest.

But these big, confrontational games are as much about mental toughness as physical preparation and perhaps there are a few mind games being played.

Italy's pack is extremely strong and that's what they rely on for their backs to play off.

If we can try and nullify that and our forwards can play well then we've got a strong chance.

Our forwards can mix it when they need to and we've got some good backs, so hopefully we can take the game right to them.

Obviously we've looked at a lot of videos of Italy and watched their games in the World Cup and worked out a few things.

It's now all about sticking to our game plan and making sure we perform to our potential.





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