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Scanavacca eyes another upset
PA Sport
March 2, 2007

Italy fly-half Andrea Scanavacca is confident the Azzurri can muster another surprise in their last two remaining RBS 6 Nations games.

Confidence is high within the Italy camp after last weekend's historic victory - their first success away from home in Six Nations history.

The Azzurri host winless Wales on March 10 and Ireland a week later at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome.

"We had three days of celebrations after our achievement in Scotland," Scanavacca said.

"It was a huge success for us and it does give you a big morale boost for the forthcoming games.

"We know that it's not going to be an easy game against Wales or Ireland but we want to confirm our current form."

Pierre Berbizier's men had already given an inspiring performance at Twickenham against England two weeks ago before beating Scotland 37-17 at Murrayfield.

Both games showed a vast improvement with respect to their dismal start to the competition, a 39-3 home defeat against defending champions France.

"We were really unlucky against France," admitted Scanavacca. "We watched the game on video a couple of times. We made four mistakes and we paid a high price."

It wasn't the best return to the Azzurri team for Scanavacca either, after sustaining a rib injury only six minutes into the game - he made his debut back in 1999 but prior to the tournament had only earned seven caps.

"It was hard," he said. "I earned a starting place against France, missed a penalty conversion and I got injured.

"It was certainly the most difficult week for me, I thought I had lost another opportunity to prove my worth in the national team."

Scanavacca did recover and started against England and Scotland.

"I have to thank Berbizier for his vote of confidence," he said. "Each game you play gives you more self-belief and it allows you to play with more calmness."

The 33-year-old Calvisano player has every intention to defend his place in the team.

"I want to play every game," he said. "I know in order to do so I have to work very hard. I want to defend this number 10 shirt that I love and always dreamed of wearing.

"I hope I have earned a place in this group for the future because my objective is to continue playing for Italy."

Scanavacca will be eager to show his worth in front of the home crowd in their two remaining games.

Their recent performances has led to a rush on ticket sales with the Azzurri's remaining home games now sold out.

"We now know that we can play against any team," said Scanavacca. "Of course, we have to keep our feet on the ground, we know how hard we have worked to get to where we are and we must be humble.

"Now the best is to come and we know that we have to play even better than we did against England and Scotland."

The Italians will be without injured trio Fabio Ongaro, Martin Castrogiovanni and Andrea Masi for the clash against Wales.

"They are three players of very high level," he said.

"But we are only thinking about those who are in the group and not the ones that are absent."

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