LONDON (Reuters) - Italy coach Jacques Brunel did not have to study too hard to find reasons for his side’s mauling by France in their Rugby World Cup opener — the Azzurri conceded a massive 19 penalties in 80 minutes of ill-disciplined rugby.
His players will not have needed any help in pin-pointing where they struggled in the 32-10 loss at Twickenham last Saturday when they got on the wrong side of South African referee Craig Joubert.
Italy, who take on Canada in their second Pool D game in Leeds on Saturday, felt they were penalized in the scrum too often against France which Brunel said “left a bitter taste in the mouth”.
Joubert got tough with Martin Castrogiovanni and the experienced prop, who has been dropped to the bench against Canada, wanted to know what officials were looking for.
“We have had the same scrum for the last 10 years and one week you look good and the next everything goes against you. I know the ref is always right but sometimes it is good to know what we need to do,” he said.
Brunel has brought in props Michele Rizzo and Lorenzo Cittadini in place of Matias Aguero and Castrogiovanni as he bids to get his scrum right, but there is no return from injury yet for influential captain Sergio Parisse.
The number eight underwent surgery to drain a blood clot from his leg after his side’s last warm-up game against Wales and sat out the France defeat.
Canada are optimistic they can test Italy despite losing their opener 50-7 to Ireland.
Scrumhalf Gordon McRorie believed Canada “showed glimpses of what we can do and the pressure we can apply” against Ireland.
“The way we put Ireland under pressure in certain phases of the game was pleasing. That is something that we need to keep working on as we move toward our second game. It has certainly helped us by playing a very good side first up.”
Canada welcome back skipper Tyler Ardron who has not played since injuring his medial collateral ligament against Samoa the in Pacific Nations Cup in late July.
Italy have won their last four meetings with Canada whose sole win over the Azzurri came in 2000.
Italy: 1-Michele Rizzo, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 3-Lorenzo Cittadini, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 5-Josh Furno, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Francesco Minto, 8-Samuela Vunisa; 9-Edoardo Gori, 10-Tommaso Allan, 11-Giovanbattista Venditti, 12-Gonzalo Garcia, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 14-Leonardo Sarto, 15-Luke McLean
Replacements: 16-Davide Giazzon, 17-Matias Aguero, 18-Martin Castrogiovanni, 19-Marco Fuser, 20-Mauro Bergamasco, 21-Guglielmo Palazzani, 22-Carlo Canna, 23-Michele Campagnaro
Canada: 1-Hubert Buydens, 2-Ray Barkwill, 3-Doug Wooldridge, 4-Jebb Sinclair, 5-Jamie Cudmore, 6-Nanyak Dala, 7-John Moonlight, 8- Tyler Ardron (captain); 9-Jamie Mackenzie, 10-Nathan Hirayama, 11-DTH Van Der Merwe, 12-Connor Braid, 13-Ciaran Hearn, 14-Phil Mackenzie, 15-Matt Evans
Replacements: 16-Aaron Carpenter, 17-Djustice Sears-Duru, 18-Andrew Tiedemann, 19-Evan Olmstead, 20-Kyle Gilmour, 21-Phil Mack, 22-Conor Trainor, 23-Harry Jones
Reporting by Justin Palmer, editing by Ed Osmond