Rugby Union: Quinnell urges positive attitude

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The Independent Online
THE WELSH No 8, Scott Quinnell, has issued a warning to Wales going into today's international against Italy in Treviso. The Llanelli players has urged his team-mates to approach the match in a positive frame of mind.

"If anything, I think it will be harder than the French game. People weren't too sure about us in Paris, and we weren't expected to do much. But the win out there puts a bit of a burden on our shoulders, and that is something we have to forget about. We simply have to concentrate on playing our own game," Quinnell said yesterday. "It is important we approach the match the same way we did in Paris. We have to go in with a positive attitude and play some rugby."

Wales claimed a narrow 23-20 win when they last met Italy, at Llanelli's Stradey Park last year, and Quinnell admitted: "It was very tough, and I don't expect anything to be different this time. They will be powerful and well organised up front."

The 34-33 win in the Five Nations' Championship over France two weeks ago may have been a desperately close call, but it boosted Welsh morale after the setbacks against Scotland and Ireland and was just reward for their expansive approach.

Wales are expecting the Italians to try to play a spoiling game and prevent them repeating that performance, their first victory in France for 24 years. But Italy's coach, Georges Coste, played down any such plans and said he wanted to copy the approach Wales adopted in Paris.

"I would like to produce a similar game plan to the Welsh because I believe it is the only way we will be recognised by the other nations," Coste said. "I have put the accent on speed, continuity and the production of good ball from the pack, and the scoring of good tries from the backline. Wales concentrate on running from deep and they're always looking for an opportunity to create a break. I think Wales are desperate to entertain the crowd, and that is something that is good to see."

None of those words cut any ice with Wales' forwards coach Lynn Howells. "I think they will revert to the tactics they are happy with, the type of game they play in their own club rugby - and that is not expansive," Howells said.

The Wales captain, Rob Howley, also expressed his doubts about Coste's comments. "We have to be open-minded and ready for whatever they throw at us, but my own feeling is that they will look to play a dominant, set- piece game," he said.