And playing the strongest two teams at the start of the competition is a definite advantage.
I have to say that I think the final score against England was a little harsh on Italy. They started the game well, with the right attitude.
The only way to try to stop England is to put them under lots of pressure and for parts of the first half Italy managed this. But we made too many errors in the second half, losing the ball too often and our kicking to have been a bit better.
However, I thought number eight Sergio Parisse played well, as did full-back Andrea Masi, so that is encouraging.
France are a very hard opponent to face, especially when they are playing at home. They are strong in the scrum, and their backs have pace and creativity. I just hope that Italy worked hard in training on the defensive errors they made against England.
It is a good thing for us that Fabien Galthie has retired and that fly-half Frederic Michalak might not play, even though I'm sure the replacements will be of the highest order.
And although all their backs are all excellent players, I do not believe that they have a player like England's Jason Robinson, who has the ability to change the game at any moment.