Rowntree: England won’t underestimate Italy

British & Irish Lions coach Graham Rowntree insists his England side will not be taking Italy lightly when they clash at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. [more]

Rowntree: England won’t underestimate Italy

British & Irish Lions coach Graham Rowntree insists his England side will not be taking Italy lightly when they clash at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Rowntree and England are in buoyant mood after beating Wales 29-18 last time out, Rowntree getting one over Warren Gatland whom he worked under Down Under with the British & Irish Lions last summer.

And the form book would suggest the Red Rose are set to see the good times roll as they travel to Rome to take on an Italian side who have lost their last five games.

However Rowntree is not about to let his England players get ahead of themselves, warning them they are in for a physical battle against the Azzurri.

"The Italian outfit are a bit like France. They're not small, they're big guys, and a lot of them are playing in France," said Rowntree, who has made nine starts in the famous red jersey as a prop.

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"Not many teams go over there and push them around and they've had moments in this Six Nations. They're big men. We'll have to play well on Saturday to beat them and that's all we're focusing on – beating them.

"A lot has been said about the scoreline, but we're going over there to beat them. There aren't many teams who have gone over there and smashed Italy. They just don't let you do that.”

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