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Garbisi prepared for physical battle against France in Paris

Garbisi prepared for physical battle against France in Paris

Paolo Garbisi

Paolo Garbisi is expecting France to provide a huge physical challenge to Italy when the two sides meet in the final Group B game of the Autumn Nations Cup in Paris.

The Azzurri sat out the second round after their contest was cancelled due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the Fijian camp, with Italy awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win as a result.

Following France’s win over Scotland in Edinburgh at the weekend, they are now in pole position to finish top of the group but Italy will be looking to upset the odds on Saturday.

And 20-year-old fly-half Garbisi is looking forward to the test that awaits his team at the Stade de France, especially as both teams are going through a period of transition.

“Like us, they have started a process of renewal of the squad a few years ago with young high-level prospects,” he said.

“An intense and tough match on the physical side awaits us. I’m sure that the extra days we have available will allow us to prepare it better.”

Garbisi’s rise through the international ranks has been rapid, with the Benetton man making his first start for his country against Ireland in the Guinness Six Nations last month after just a handful of senior games at club level.

But while he has seemingly slipped into the Italy No.10 shirt with ease so far, Garbisi said he is putting in the hard yards on the training pitch to ensure he keeps improving.

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“Training and constantly improving are the basis for every athlete,” he said. “At the end of each session I dedicate a lot of time to personal skills: kicking at goalposts, kicking in touch, catching on the fly.

“It is an important part because it allows me to face these game situations in the match with greater confidence. Right from the start Franco Smith set up his work involving young people.

“This decision takes on a positive connotation for me in various respects, not least having my teammates here in the team with whom I played with in the national youth teams.

“It’s a factor that has allowed me to settle better in a group that – between staff and players – put us in the best conditions to work.”

Garbisi also praised the influence of Italy legend Leonardo Ghiraldini, who won his 105th cap in the defeat to Scotland in Round 1, saying the hooker sets an example to his country’s rising stars.

“It is a privilege to be able to train and play with athletes of the calibre of Leonardo,” he added. “It is an added value for everyone. He brings a lot of experience and enthusiasm.

“He is an athlete who never gives up. When I started playing rugby, he made his debut in the national team. It is a strange fact that highlights his constancy and his passion.”

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