Bergamasco hoping to surprise French

Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco believes the Pierre Berbizier factor could weigh in favour of his team in Saturday’s RBS Six Nations Championship clash with France at the Stade de France.

Berbizier, a former France coach who replaced New Zealander John Kirwan as Italy boss last year, has brought a change in style to the Azzurri and Bergamasco believes that will stand the Italians in good stead when they face Bernard Laporte’s side.

“We know how strong are the players,” the elder of the Bergamasco brothers said.

“Maybe they did not play at their best against Scotland and Ireland but the quality of our opponents is top class.”

Bergamasco believes the new-look Italy could unsettle France who lost their opener 20-16 in Scotland but bounced back to beat Ireland 43-31 in their second fixture.

“Perhaps in our favour there is the fact so many Azzurri players are playing in the Top 14 in France,” said Bergamasco.

“But for them the new Italian team of Pierre Berbizier is different – they have only seen it on TV – and that’s a great advantage.”

Italy have lost both their games – 26-16 in Dublin to Ireland and 31-16 at home to England – but have won plaudits for their performances in both those matches.

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