Wallabies: Tom Wright expects a tricky challenge against Italy

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Wallabies wing Tom Wright admits his side is expecting a tricky Test against Italy this weekend and underlined their respect for the Azzurri.

Wright’s team comes off a solid performance against France, where the Wallabies lost the clash 30-29 in the dying minutes of the game thanks to a moment of brilliance from Damian Penaud.

Respect for the Azzurri

Despite never having lost to Italy, Wright emphasised that the Wallabies are expecting a tough game against a growing team meaning everyone in the Australian camp has to “front up” during the preparations this week.

“The main messaging is around that we respect Italy and keep out the outside noise … around what could be perceived as an easy game for us on this tour, or the easiest,” Wright said to reporters.

“It’s about making sure that we as a squad front up this week – it’s very easy to get up when you’re playing France or Ireland, the top two teams in the world, so we need to make sure we put the same emphasis on playing well and preparing the same way against Italy.”

Wright was full of praise for Jock Campbell, who showed his quality against France, singling out his composure as one of the Reds star’s key attributes.

“It’s been well-publicised around how underrated he’s (Campbell) been and he’s waited for his opportunity for a really long time,” Wright said.

“To see him front up on one of biggest stages in the world, he didn’t shy away from the occasion, executing our game plan.

“There’s been a merry-go-round of guys go through there (fullback), me included, and Jock is cool, calm and collected and extremely well liked by the group.

“You saw in his performance, not a lot rattles him.”

Taking responsibility

Wright and Campbell both missed crucial tackles in Penaud’s winning try, something the Brumbies outside back has openly taken responsibility for following the game.

“It sucked for the group, sucked for me and Jock but I’ve just got to own that moment,” Wright said.

“The team review, we didn’t just look at the last try and think how shit was that game, we looked at the first 75-odd minutes and what we did really well.

“We know Italy are going to be no slouch this weekend, especially at home and it’s a new environment for a lot of guys.

“It’s certainly been a focus point for us, making sure that we show up, especially coming after a performance that we were proud of.”

Following the clash against Italy this weekend, the Wallabies face Ireland and Wales in the final two games of the Autumn Nations Series.

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