O2 Inside Line returns this week as the Six Nations is back after a break, with England hoping to continue their determined march towards a Grand Slam. Having won three in a row, spirits are high ahead of the Italy clash.
Italy however will be buoyed by the news that talismanic leader Sergio Parisse was succesful in his appeal against a lengthy ban that would have seen him sit out the rest of the tournament.
Parisse was red carded in a French Top 14 match recently after he allegedly insulted the referee. Earlier today his ban was reduced to just 20 days, meaning it comes to an end on Friday.
“We’re satisfied to discover that Sergio Parisse’s suspension has been reduced to 20 days and therefore he will be available for the next two Six Nations matches,” said manager Luigi Troiani.
“Sergio is an important element in this group and we cannot be anything but delighted that he will be available to the coach Brunel, for the matches against England and Ireland.”
England’s Dan Cole expects Italy to be strong up front come Sunday.
“Potentially we’re very good but potential means nothing if we’re not doing things as well as we can,” prop Cole said. “Italy pride themselves on their set-piece and they’ll come to Twickenham wanting to hurt us there. We’ve got to be ready for that and better than them.”
In this week’s O2 Inside Line, Cole and Billy Twelvetrees analyse the Italian threat, there’s some good banter between Mike Brown and David Strettle, and we learn more about ‘Mr England’.