Masi preparing for ‘most important game of our lives’

Andrea Masi says that his countrymen face what could be the ‘most important game of our lives’ as they prepare for the World Cup opener against France.

With much of the focus naturally on the hosts England as the 2015 Rugby World Cup looms large, Italy have been quietly preparing for the competition, with the clear goal of progressing out of the group stages for the first time in their history, with France, Ireland, Canada and Romania standing in their way.
Andrea Masi is set to take part in his fourth World Cup with his country and he says that his desire to qualify for the knockout stages is stronger than ever.
“Our first game against France will be key. If we win that game we have a really good chance to get out of the group stages for the first time ever. That game will be crucial and for a lot of us it will be the most important game of our lives.
“There’s a lot of expectation, a lot of excitement for the game. Against France you never know, they are so unpredictable. We beat them two years ago and if they are not well-prepared they can lose, but then they can also be brilliant.”
In their warm-up games, Italy missed out twice to Scotland, but Masi says the side are taking a lot of heart from their narrow loss to Wales in the final game of their preparations.
“We were really happy with our performance against Wales after a bad defeat to Scotland. We bounced back and we did pretty well at the weekend. Unfortunately we lost key players in Sergio Parisse and Andrea Manici, but we are happy with the way we played.
“The second game against Scotland we lacked concentration and physicality. I think everything went wrong for that one. We have to forget about it and look forward after a good performance against Wales.
“The preparations have been really tough. We have done all of our preparations in Italy and the summer there has been really really hot this year, so it’s been hard. We have worked really hard and I think we are in a good place ahead of the World Cup.”