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Italy flyhalf on facing England: 'Of course we can win'

SIX NATIONS BUILD-UP: Italy flyhalf Tommaso Allan made a very brave statement ahead of the Six Nations Round two clash against England at Twickenham.

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Italy have won matches against all their Six Nations rivals except England, with the Azzurri having lost all of their 29 Tests against the Red Rose brigade.

But they arrive in London with the genuine belief they can end that woeful run, with victories over Wales and Australia in 2022 allied to a narrow first-round defeat by reigning Six Nations champions France in Rome last weekend, evidence of Italy’s improvement under coach Kieran Crowley.

“Of course, we can win,” Allan told PA news when asked about his team’s chances against a nervy-looking England side.

“I always believe. We’ve never beaten England but we’re very confident in our team and our ability.

“It took us a day to get over the loss to France last weekend because we thought we could have won it, but there were a lot of positives there as well so we’re very confident. There’s a great buzz around the camp.

“Italian rugby is on the up at the moment, we’ve just got to be consistent and compete in every game because that’s what has been missing.”

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Allan added: “We have young players but we’re pushing all the time, playing some good rugby with the ball in hand. We’ve tried to be more attack-focused and that’s showing.”

Allan, who plies his trade in the Premiership with the Harlequins, is set to take the field at Twickenham this weekend after being named at flyhalf in Italy’s starting XV for this second-round match.

England’s headquarters is just a short walk from the Stoop, the home of the London club Harlequins.

However his fellow stand-off Marcus Smith has been dropped to the bench after a 23-29 defeat by Scotland in Steve Borthwick’s first game as England head coach.

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“I’d have loved to have faced Marcus from the start but I’m sure he’ll come on,” Allan said.

“It will be fun because he’s a very competitive player and he will be feisty when he comes on.”

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