One of the primary concerns of Wales coach, Warren Gatland, over the weekend, was that one or more of his players could pick up an injury while playing for their domestic club, a development that would have placed strain on an already over-stretched squad.
Fortunately, for Wales’ chances against England, at least, the Welsh have returned to their posts with limbs intact. The same could be said of the French and Scottish teams, who have no new injuries to report, this week. People following the 2012 Six Nations Betting need to bear this in mind.
Italy have not been so fortunate. Azzurri flanker, Paul Derbyshire, pulled up with a knee injury during Treviso’s heavy defeat to Munster in the RaboDirect Pro 12, meaning that Italy have had to fall back on Francesco Minto, also of Treviso.
The absence of big prop, Martin Castrogiovanni, is another sore point for Italy’s new coach, Jacques Brunel. The Tigers player broke his rib in innocuous fashion during Italy’s recent defeat to England, after falling on the ball.
However, Aironi veteran, Marco Bortolami, believes that even with Derbyshire and Castrogiovanni absent, Italy have the potential to mastermind their first-ever victory over Declan Kidney’s Ireland, on Saturday. Fans of Betfair will be wondering if they can manage an upset.
Speaking about Italy’s most recent match against England, Bortolami said that his fellow union players were frustrated at having lost to the British team, as the encounter was “a chance to beat them”.
Bortolami is hoping that Italy can repeat their near-success against England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. “The game against Ireland will be very tough”, the lock said, “but we have to back up our performance against England”.
The 31-year-old intimated that ‘playing an 80 minute game’ rather than marrying periods of aggression with moments of complacency would be integral to any defeat of Ireland. “We need to improve our game management”, Bortolami concluded.