Italy need to ‘put pride back into the jersey’ says Dean Parata ahead of Australia clash

Sebastian Sternik
Dean Parata in action for Italy against Scotland

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

Italy hooker Dean Parata believes his side need to atone for their heavy defeat against Fiji by putting on an improved display against Australia.

Parata, who was born in Sydney but represents Italy, was left disappointed after his side were thrashed 60-4 by Fiji in their second group game of the World Cup.

The Azzurri will now set their sights on an Australian side which has conceded just eight points in 160 minutes of World Cup rugby.

“Australia is obviously the pinnacle of rugby league so [we have] a massive week of preparation,” said Parata. “But I don’t think we can dwell on that too much and overthink it.

“I think we’ve got to go back to how we started the competition. Strip everything back and just reset. Get ready for Australia, play some footy, fight for everything and I think we’ll be alright.”

Italy kicked off the tournament with an impressive 28-4 victory over Scotland. That result caused many to ponder whether the Blues could prove a handful for Fiji.

The Bati answered those doubt emphatically, leaving Italy with a lot to think about ahead of their final group game.

When asked whether Italy had a point to prove, Parata said: “Yeah, I think so. I think we need to put pride back into the jersey.

“We did fight [against Fiji]. You could see we were scrappy there at the end, we were fighting for everything. The boys are very disappointed if you could see the sheds now. Everybody’s very disappointed so it’s not like we gave up or anything like that.

“We definitely have a point to prove against Australia. To go out against them and show that we’re a competitive side and we’re a good rugby league team.”

Heritage against homeland

Dean Parata, who is Australian but is representing his family heritage with Italy, was questioned on how he felt taking on the country of his birth.

He said: “We’re representing Italy here. It is, of course, special to play against Australia. But it’s even more important for us to put this jersey on and represent our nation.

“A lot of our boys are of heritage, the majority of us are so we’re focused on who we’re playing for not who we’re playing against.”

Australia followed up their 42-8 win over Fiji with an 84-0 demolition against Scotland. When asked whether they were the team to beat at this World Cup, Parata said: “I don’t know if they’re favourites. They’re good, they’re obviously good. I don’t know if they’re favourites, I think England are very good, New Zealand are very good. But they’re definitely up there.”

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