Saturday 24 March 2018

No disrespect but we're out to spoil party for O'Driscoll – Bortolami

Italy captain Marco Bortolami: 'We have to make sure we turn up'
Italy captain Marco Bortolami: 'We have to make sure we turn up'
David Kelly

David Kelly

Italian captain Marco Bortolami had no sooner joined the chorus of celebration for Brian O'Driscoll when he declared his country's stout intention to drown it out in today's emotive Lansdowne Road clash.

"It is some motivation for Ireland," he said of O'Driscoll's farewell on Irish soil, mindful that Andrea Lo Cicero's equally emotional retirement fuelled Italy's only Six Nations win against Ireland in Rome last March.

"We haven't spoken about that and we have to do our job. We have to make sure we turn up. That's the things in our control. We know how Ireland play.

"They are very physical and organised and I don't think they will change the way they play because Brian O'Driscoll is playing his 140th game.

"To play at the same high level for 15 years is simply an amazing record, featuring on four Lions tours as well as all the silverware he has won for Ireland and Leinster.

"After the game there will be some focus on that, but we will try to destroy this party for him. We don't want to disrespect him, but that's sport."

Bortolami, who also skippered his country to an away win in 2007 against Scotland, believes that Ireland are the best of the four teams slugging it out in a fascinating championship battle.

"The way they play, yeah," he enthused. "I wasn't surprised they lost against England, but they were in control of the game.


"The opportunities didn't go to Ireland, but they are very consistent. Their kicking game is very good and they put players under pressure. They play in the right areas and their pack is very organised.

"When they get in the '22' they build opportunities to score tries, so it seems they don't have any weaknesses, but we analysed them and we know how we can put them under pressure."

Meanwhile, Paul Derbyshire has told the Irish Independent that his side are confident that they can come close to repeating last March's maiden Six Nations success against Ireland – even though they have "rested" the world-class No 8 Sergio Parisse.

Coach Jacques Brunel has cosseted his star player as he targets another game five coup against England in Rome next weekend and, after also switching his half-back pairing, there are hints that his side may not be focused on today's Dublin task, a factor that has privately angered their other title rivals.

With Ireland seeking the win and the points-difference boost that may give them a title-chasing edge when they visit Paris next weekend, Italy may appear to have already waved a white flag ahead of this afternoon's contest.

Not so, claims Derbyshire, who takes his place in a back-row also weakened by the absence of Alessandro Zanni.

"It's more like a test for us, it's the fourth game of the tournament and of course the last game is very important," said the 27-year-old, slated to win his 22nd cap today. "Brunel has given some players the chance to play and see if they can start against England next week. He has made a few changes as a test.

"But it's still quite a strong side even if we're missing Sergio, our captain, and also Alessandro Zanni. But I think we're going to be fine without them.

"We still have experience in our side with Marco leading us as the captain. It's an important challenge to play without Sergio for us to develop. Leadership won't be a problem for Marco.

"It's still a big challenge to play a very, very strong team without some very strong players. I think we are ready to do this, though. We have worked hard all week and we are really positive."

Brian O'Driscoll, Brian O'Meara and Victor Costello celebrate Leinster's victory over Munster in the 2001 Celtic League final
Brian O'Driscoll, Brian O'Meara and Victor Costello celebrate Leinster's victory over Munster in the 2001 Celtic League final
Brian O'Driscoll in action for Blackrock College in 1997
Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland is tackled by Daniel Herbert, Australia, Australia v Ireland, Subiaco Oval, Perth in 1999 in one of his first caps
Brian O'Driscoll on his way to scoring his first ever try for Ireland against the USA in the 1999 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll scores his first Six Nations try against Scotland in 2000 at Landsdowne Road
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates one of his three tries against France in 2000.
19 March 2000; Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll leaves french full back Emile Ntamack behind to score his third try
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates victory over France in the 2000 Six Nations
Brian O'Driscoll in action against the Springboks in 2000
Brian O'Driscoll makes his Barbarians debut in 2000
Brian O'Driscoll, Rob Henderson and Keith Wood joke around during the 2001 Lions tour
British and Irish Lions player Brian O'Driscoll breaks away to score the third try against Australia during the First Test match at The Gabba, Brisbane, 30th June 2001.
Brian O'Driscoll on his way to scoring his famous try against Australia in the First Test of the 2001 Lions Series.
Brian O'Driscoll tries to get out of a ruck in a game against Australia in 2002
Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie celebrate victory over Australia in 2002
Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland, kicks a drop goal in the narrow defeat to Australia at the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll dives over in the corner for a try against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after Ireland's victory over England in Twickenham in 2004
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with coach Eddie O'Sullivan at the end of the game versus Scotland in Lansdowne Road in 2004 after winning the Triple Crown
Brian O'Driscoll is forced to leave the field after being the victim of a spear tackle that ended his Lions Tour in 2005
BOD holds the Triple Crown trophy aloft after victory over England at Twickenham
Ireland's captain Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Triple Crown following the match against England at Twickenham, March 18, 2006.
Brian O'Driscoll dots down against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in 2007
Brian O'Driscoll dives over to score Ireland's first try during the final Pool D match at Parc des Princes in Paris during the 2007 Rugby World Cup
Brian O'Driscoll scores a brilliantly improvised try for Leinster against Wasps in the Pool Stages of the 2008/09 Heineken Cup
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll tackles Munster's Paul O'Connell during the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final in Croke Park.
Brian O'Driscoll races clear of Munster’s Ronan O’Gara, whose pass he intercepted, on his way to scoring his side’s third try in Leinster's Heineken Cup semi-final win at Croke Park in 2009
Rocky Elsom with team-mate Brian O'Driscoll in 2009 after Leinster's first Heineken Cup success
Brian O'Driscoll, Rocky Elsom, Felipe Contepomi and Gordon D'Arcy celebrate after Leinster's Heineken Cup victory in 2009
Brian O'Driscoll (centre) of Leinster raises the Heineken Cup after winning the Heineken Cup Final between Leicester Tigers and Leinster at Murrayfield on May 23, 2009
Brian with the Six Nations and Triple Crown trophies following Ireland's success in 2009
Brian O’Driscoll captained Ireland to first Grand Slam in 61 years
Brian O'Driscoll in action for the British and Irish Lions in 2009. Photo: Getty Images
Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman tied the knot in July 2010.
Shane Horgan lifting the Heineken Cup with Brian O’Driscoll in 2011. Sportsfile
Shane Horgan celebrates winning the 2011 Heineken Cup with team-mate and friend Brian O'Driscoll
Joe Schmidt with Brian O’Driscoll after the 2011 Heineken Cup final victory.
Brian O'Driscoll trudges off the pitch following Ireland's defeat to Wales in the Rugby World Cup Quarter final in 2011
Gordon D'Arcy, left, and Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster celebrate Leinster's victory in the Heineken Cup in 2011
19 May 2012; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, celebrates after the game. Heineken Cup Final, Leinster v Ulster, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, England. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after victory over Ulster. Heineken Cup Final, Leinster v Ulster, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, England. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian O'Driscoll shows his delight at winning the Lions Test series in Australia last year despite being omitted from the final test.
Brian O'Driscoll and his daughter Sadie following the British & Irish Lions victory last year
Brian O'Driscoll throws his boots into the crowd as he celebrates Leinster's win in the Rabodirect Pro12 Grand final last year at the RDS
Brian O'Driscoll on his great partnership with D'Arcy
Brian O'Driscoll sits in the sin bin during Ireland's Six Nations defeat to Italy last year
Brian O'Driscoll: Ireland's most capped centre has suffered multiple high-profile head injuries down the years, most notably during a game against England in 2009
Brian O'Driscoll and his father Frank. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Brian O'Driscoll reacts to the final minute try that helped New Zealand to a 24-22 win at the Aviva last November. BOD never tasted victory over the All Blacks.
Brian O'Driscoll is given a guard of honour at his final captain's run at the Aviva
Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland, celebrates with team-mate Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney at the final whistle.
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates Photo: Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton, left, and Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with the trophy following their side's victory
Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster, looks on during the Heineken Cup quarter final match between Toulon and Leinster in April
Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin Reddan leave the pitch in dejection after Leinster were crushed by Toulon in the Heineken Cup quarter-final

And Derbyshire maintains that, while Italy will glean some confidence from the 22-15 shock win in Rome, a first in 18 games against Ireland that forced the then head coach Declan Kidney from his post, they are also looking ahead to a World Cup renewal with Ireland next year in England.

"We have confidence from last season against Ireland in Rome," he said. "We know that it is more difficult in the Aviva, an amazing stadium and it won't be easy for us. But we won last year and we have some confidence, so we have to put in the performance and hope to put pressure on the Ireland side for 80 minutes.

"We are building for a World Cup when we play Ireland again and we want to do better than in the last World Cup against them.

"We have some young players coming through in the backline, three or four young guys who have played outstandingly well, like Farto, Esposito and Campagnaro.

"It's good for us because next year the World Cup is really important and we have the basis to do well with these young players."

Irish Independent

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