Does Italy stand a chance of winning a match this year in the Six Nations?

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Italy is known more for its pizza than its rugby

This Six Nations has been called the most competitive yet for, with multiple injuries for Wales, Scotland and England, we could see the fall of the once giants and the rise of the smaller, less-funded Italy. An injury crisis for other nations could definitely increase Italy’s chances of winning a game, and with the roster boasting the likes of Sergio Parisse, they are certainly in with a shout of an elusive victory.

The Italians beat South Africa in 2016.  They showed their class throughout this fixture to beat a young and hungry South African team. Furthermore, looking at Italy’s wins, we can learn that they have a good record against countries in the tournament. Italy has two victories against France, won against the mighty Irish three times and have their best record against Scotland where they have won eight games. However, the country more renowned for pizza than rugby has struggled overall on the big stage. Since joining the European competition, the Italians have had the wooden spoon 12 out 18 times, but this year I feel the outcome shall be different.

If we look at an extent to which Italy can show the Six Nations their talent, then we must remember that they have shown their knowledge of the game before through tactics such as using old rucking and on/off-side rules to their advantage against England last year; this was such a misleading and confusing rule for the opposition that it was, in my opinion, the smartest move in the Six Nations in the past 10 years. It caused quite the stir as not only were the England fans disgusted and bamboozled, but the commentators just downgraded the Italians tactics to that of pure cheating. The Italian coach Connor O’Shea rightly showed that this was within the rules and commented that if England had used this tactic or if Ireland had done it, it would have been clever but as it was the underdogs of Italy using the rules to their advantage it was “cheating”.

Additionally, Italy shows its dominance through scrums and forward play, with the tactics deploying big brutes of props and strong flankers. If Italy has its mental game strong, then I think they could beat anyone. There are particularly winnable games against injury-struck Scotland and geographical rivals France. Wales, England and Ireland have the quality and a bigger squad to overcome Italy, but with France and Scotland being in poor form these two are certainly winnable matches. Italy can definitely win if they have the tactics to match their desire, which is why this tournament is being labelled the most competitive yet.