Auckland: Italy will not throw caution to wind in pursuit of a bonus point when they meet Russia in their second rugby World Cup match in Nelson today despite Ireland's stunning upset of Australia blowing Pool C wide open.
While securing a bonus point for scoring four or more tries against the Russians could prove crucial for the Azzurri, captain Sergio Parisse said they would not deviate from their original game plan.
"We knew before the Ireland versus Australia match that we would need to start scoring tries," number eight Parisse told reporters in Nelson yesterday.
"It won't mean we will change our approach or start to run the ball from our own line. If we need to we will kick for field position.
"We won't rush the way we play, but will try to keep the rhythm high to cause Russia difficulties."
Most had expected Italy's final group match against the Irish on October 2 to decide which of the two teams would finish second in the group behind Australia and qualify for the last eight.
Ireland's triumphant night at Eden Park has changed all that but the Italians, who lost 32-6 to Australia in their opener, would still be aiming to build a platform for their backline through their hulking pack, Parisse said.
"This match is like any match in that you need the forwards to play well to cause the opposition problems," the 2008 world player of the year nominee, said.
"The match starts with the forwards and we have to have a good match.
"We need to put pressure on the scrums and the lineouts so that we can give Andrea Masi and Tommaso Benvenuti the chance to show their ability."
The Italians have never reached the last eight at a World Cup but would still be expected to deal comfortably with the Russians, who lost to the United States on their World Cup debut last week.
"I suppose we are the favourites and sometimes when you are favourites you don't mentally prepare properly. As such our mental approach has to be spot on," Parisse added.
"We are used to being the underdogs, as Russia are tomorrow, but anything can happen at a World Cup and we have already seen smaller teams cause problems for bigger sides."
Replacement flyhalf Luciano Orquera was a late withdrawal from the Italy team on Tuesday because of an ankle injury and has been replaced on the bench by centre Gonzalo Canale.