How will Italy defend against the All Blacks?

Marius Goosen

Kieran Crowley underlined it these days. Since the blue retreat began in Verona, the focus of his staff has been concentrated above all on defence. Marius Goosen, South African, in Treviso as a player between 2004 and 2010 – first he had played two seasons in Viadana and Rome – then in the “Celtic” staff of the green-and-whites until 2016 and from that year in charge of the defense of Italy, he tells what he is was done in view of the November tests. “Ten days is not long and there is a lot to fix, to prepare also in view of the other two games against Argentina and Uruguay. Against the All Blacks you have to set other goals ”.


“We must be realistic, not looking at the result but at objectives that concern ourselves, our game. One of these is defense. Creating a common scheme is not easy, we have players from eight different teams, with eight different defensive settings. For us, the word “time” is fundamental: taking time for the opponents, but also having players on their feet early to put pressure. Basically we focused on physicality in the meeting points. It is the only way to overcome the impacts and take the advantage line ”.

Contesterete i breakdown?

It’s not easy to contest rucks. Few players in the world know how to do it really well. I am thinking of the Australian Pocock, of Hamish Watson of Scotland, of Tom Curry of England. We players like that don’t have them. We can, however, try to slow the ball down. Winning the contact and slowing down the ball ”.

A good part of the players come from Benetton, Crowley’s team until June, where Marco Bortolami is now proposing an aggressive defense, with a quick climb. Will we see any of this or is it impossible?

“It’s nice to see a line go up very fast, I really like it. In five games, however, Treviso has taken 18 tries. If not everyone knows what to do in a fast-rising line, then it gets punctured. Zebras also make a similar defense, but con “line speed” the tackle is always 1 on 1 and if you make a mistake then it is a goal for the others. You don’t have time to patch up, especially against New Zealand. In short, we will have to find a middle ground “.

How can he afford to defend Italy against the All Blacks?

“We will have to fight against players who are physically stronger than us, so we will have to double tackles to win contacts. You cannot go up to the maximum speed because the risk is to lose the second man who gives the support ”.

Is there the athletic and physical consistency to do it?

“Defending one-on-one is more tiring against teams like this. Who has shown how the All Blacks can be stopped? South Africa. With their maximum physicality they stopped a team that gave 100 points to the United States, 50 to Wales and Australia, 40 to Argentina. They did it because they are physically present. I speak to Jacques Nienaber (the Springboks coach, ed) constantly, a couple of times a week.. We have an equal defensive system, the difference is made by the players. We are working towards those standards. Without looking only at the All Blacks, but also at the two games that will follow ”.

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How will Italy defend against the All Blacks?

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