Irrespective of any sporting event in the world, teams are always eager to start the competition on a winning note. Scotland and England did the same in their respective opening matches of the Rugby Six Nations Championship, defeating Ireland and France respectively. Now Italy and Wales, who will face each other at Stadio Olimipico on Sunday, will hope for a good start as well.
Consistency seems to be a problem for the home team, who comes into this fixture with a loss against Tonga in November. However, they had defeated South Africa in a tight encounter in the same month. Though there is a feeling that the team, under coach Conor O'Shea, is moving in the right direction, this Six Nations will prove to be a tough test and O'Shea wants his experienced players to make their presence felt in the entire competition.
"We need to concentrate on our performance, be the best Italy possible. Most importantly, [we need to] grant 400 minutes of great performance right to the end of each one of the five matches. I look at the bench and think that we really have a good team. Men like Ghiraldini, Furno, Campagnaro, Furno and Minto will be able to have a great impact with their experience," BBC quoted O'Shea as saying.
To start the Six Nations 2017 on a winning note, the players need to deliver, and put up a good show consistently. O'Shea has made five changes in the team that played against South Africa. Edoardo Gori will feature for Italy at scrum-half, and he needs to make an impact to justify his selection.
Wales, on the other hand, have been forced to make some changes due to injuries to players like Taulupe Faletau and Luke Charteris. With number eight Faletau recovering from a knee injury, Ross Moriarty has been entrusted with the role. He made his chances count in Faletau's absence. Justin Tipuric will be at No. 7. Captain Alun Wyn Jones will hope for some quality performance from all his players against Italy.
On paper, Wales look a strong side, capable of defeating Italy, and interim coach Rob Howley wants his team to start well.
"We are against a very competitive Italian side away from home in the Six Nations. We have gone with a lot of experience. I was just thinking back to when we have started tournaments well and achieved momentum. That's our goal - to go over there and start this tournament well," Howley said.
"The side that's been selected has about a 70% winning ratio in the Six Nations. They know what winning looks and smells like in the Six Nations, and that's the challenge on Sunday."
When to Watch Live
The Six Nations rugby clash between Italy and Wales is scheduled for 2 pm GMT (3 pm CET, 7:30 pm IST) start. Here are the live Streaming and TV information for the clash.
India: TV: No live coverage. Live Streaming: Rugby Pass.
UK: TV: ITV. Live Streaming: ITV Hub.
Italy: TV: DMAX.
US: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
South Africa: TV: SuperSport One. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport 1. Live Streaming: Sky Go NZ.
France: TV: FR2.
Ireland: TV: RTE.