Brunel promises Wales problems

Jacques Brunel believes his Italy side can cause defending Six Nations champions Wales problems when they open their campaign in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Azzurri head into the 2014 tournament looking to match or even better last year's display, during which they beat France and Ireland.

But Brunel has urged his players to keep defensive mistakes to a minimum when they travel to fortress Millennium Stadium.

Although he recognises Wales as a major force in this year's competition, he has backed his team to cause Warren Gatland's men some difficulties.

"Wales are one of the strongest teams in Europe," the Frenchman said. "But I think this Italy side can give interesting responses on Saturday.

"The Welsh potential is high, but we can counter that with efficiency.

"When we faced them in 2012 and 2013, we reached half-time still in the game.

"We then made mistakes that allowed them to extend their lead.

"This time we will try to remain close to them until the end.

"It's obvious that we will go out to the pitch to win, but more than anything I expect from my team important steps in terms of technique and, first and foremost, a defence that returns to the level that we had in last year's edition."

Real danger

Brunel has also identified Wales winger George North as the real danger for his side.

"He is a player that has incredible power, speed and technique," he said. "He is not the only danger that the Dragons have.

"Wales is an experienced and powerful side, with players like North and Jamie Roberts that will certainly give our three-quarters a challenging test."