He believes the Wallabies pose the most exciting backline in the global game with the brilliance of half-backs Will Genia and Quade Cooper providing the ammunition for the likes of Kurtley Beale and Digby Ioane.
While Mallett’s side picked up an outstanding win over France in this year’s Six Nations, they have yet to taste victory against Australia, and Mallett believes the Wallabies Tri-Nations triumph, and the Reds’ Super Rugby success show how difficult the meeting in North Harbour will be.
“As the Queensland Reds won the Super 15 and Australia won the Tri-Nations this year, one could argue that they are the form team going into this World Cup,” Mallett said.
“We’ve played them four times in the four years that I’ve coached Italy and every single time they’ve scored 30 points against us, but we’ve been between 10-20 points virtually every time we’ve played. We think we’re a side improving and hope we can do better than that on Sunday.”
AUSTRALIA: K Beale, A Ashley-Cooper, A Fainga’a, P McCabe, D Ioane, Q Cooper, W Genia; S Kepu, S Moore, B Alexander, D Vickerman, J Horwill (capt), R Elsom, D Pocock, R Samo.
Replacements: T Polota-Nau, J Slipper, R Simmons, B McCalman, S Higginbotham, L Burgess, J O’Connor.
ITALY: A Masi, T Benvenuti, G Canale, G Garcia, M Bergamasco, L Orquera, F Semenzato; A Lo Cicero, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni, CA Del Fava, C Van Zyl, A Zanni, R Barbieri, S Parisse (capt).
Replacements: T D’Apice, L Cittadini, M Bortolami, P Derbyshire, E Gori, R Bocchino, L McLean.