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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 19:46 GMT
Respect Azzurri threat - Williams
Shane Williams says that Wales may need patience against Italy
Shane Williams says that Wales may need patience against Italy
Date: Saturday, 23 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Watch/Listen: BBC One, Radio 5 Live sports extra, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online

Shane Williams says Wales must not take beating Italy for granted in their RBS Six Nations clash on Saturday.

Wales are riding high with wins over England and Scotland, but last year lost in Rome and drew their previous encounter in Cardiff with the Azzurri.

"Italy have caused us problems in the past and I'm sure they'll cause us problems on Saturday," Williams said.

"We've had some disappointing results against them and that just goes to show how good a team they are."

Some eyes are turning towards the prospect of claiming a Triple Crown in Ireland on 8 March, and perhaps then a championship - maybe even a Grand Slam - showdown with France on the final weekend.

But Williams knows that Italy are more than capable of throwing a spanner in the works if they are taken lightly.

The expectations among Wales fans may be of an afternoon at the Millennium Stadium full of running rugby, flair and a handsome home win.

Moffets Ghost

But 53-cap wing Williams says Wales will first have to subdue a potent Azzurri pack before any flowing entertainment can begin.

"We are always under pressure in Wales," Williams added. "As a nation they love to put the boys under pressure and it's good for us.

"But we need to go into this with a nice, experienced attitude, compose ourselves before and during the game and if we do our stuff we are more than capable of winning.

"I don't think there's a sense in which we need to play a lot of open rugby. First of all we need to compete up front and win the set-pieces to get some ball.

"And if we get some nice, clean, quick ball, of course we'll try to move it around and get some tries.

"But the hard work comes first. The big lads have to do their work before the backs can do anything really.

"We'd like to have some nice, quick, flowing rugby, but it depends on how we can cope with a massive Italian pack on Saturday."

Two years ago Italy won their first ever away points in the championship with an 18-18 draw in Cardiff, while last season in the Stadio Flaminio staged a fine comeback to down Wales 23-20.

There's a lot to prove and a lot of old scores to settle

Wales wing Shane Williams

Although the Azzurri are winless this campaign, they have run both Ireland and England close.

"We know what they are capable of. They have played well in their two opening games and will want to improve this week and we know they'll come with a positive attitude," Williams said.

"Their set-pieces work very well and we have struggled against their front eight in the past so we know it's going to be difficult there.

"Not only that, they have some backs who can play exciting rugby. The Bergamasco brothers bring experience at openside flanker and centre.

"Having lost against them last season and drawn the season before, yes, we do have a point to prove, but I'm sure Italy aren't going to come to Cardiff and lie down.

"They're a resilient side and full of great players so there's a lot to prove and a lot of old scores to settle."

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