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Six Nations: Marco Bortolami keen to spoil Brian O'Driscoll's last home game

Last Updated: 07/03/14 4:37pm

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Marco Bortolami: Hoping to deny O'Driscoll a winning send-off

Marco Bortolami: Hoping to deny O'Driscoll a winning send-off

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Italy captain Marco Bortolami has vowed to "destroy" Brian O'Driscoll's farewell parade in Dublin on Saturday.

The veteran centre, who is retiring at the end of the season, will bid an emotional farewell to his adoring Ireland fans as he makes his final international appearance on home soil.

But Bortolami believes the Azzuri can ruin the party atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium, and the former Gloucester lock is confident his side can upset the odds and claim their first win in Dublin since 1997.

"I don't think they will change the way they play because of Brian's 140th game," said Bortolami, who will captain Italy in the absence of Sergio Parisse.

"After the game I'm sure that will get some attention. But we will try to destroy this party for him.

"We don't want to disrespect him, but that's the way sport is. I'm sure it's a motivation for Ireland, but to be honest we haven't talked about that.

"We have to do our job, turn up and execute our gameplan, that's what we can control.

"Brian's one of the greatest, the way he has lasted so long and the qualities he has shown, it's amazing.

"It's very difficult to keep the same level for 15 years, and to be involved with Ireland for that long, to go on that many Lions tours, it's amazing.

"It's been a pleasure to play against him many, many times, and I think everyone will agree with me on that.

Italy's victory in Rome last year led to the departure of Declan Kidney as Ireland coach, but Bortolami concedes they are huge underdogs for Saturday's clash.

"We will try to destroy this party for him. We don't want to disrespect him, but that's the way sport is. I'm sure it's a motivation for Ireland, but to be honest we haven't talked about that."
Marco Bortolami

But the Zebre second row still believes Italy can pull off a shock result despite missing talisman Parisse and influential back-rower Alessandro Zanni.

Proud

"I think Ireland are very proud of what they can produce and their style of rugby right now," he added.

"I think they are sure they will win this game but they lost last year in Rome.

"We have come from a very tough game against Scotland last week

"We are underdogs, and we are under no illusions, but if we play a proper game we can put them under pressure.

"If you let them do what they want, they can control a game and they will win. The way they play yes, I do believe they are the best team.

"I wasn't surprised they lost last week, they were in control of the game, but opportunities didn't go their way.

"The way they play, they are very consistent, good kicking game and put teams under pressure, play in the right areas.

"When they get in the 22 they build opportunities to score.

"It seems they don't have any weaknesses but we know how we're going to put them under pressure.

"Playing without Sergio Parisse is not very good for us, because he's our captain, a leader, he's tremendous loss for us.

"But I think we've got the energy and we possibly have different qualities in our back-row now.

"Furno is playing very well, and Barbiesi is very strong off the base of the scrum.

"So we have all the means to put the Ireland team under pressure, even if we can't field Parisse and Zanni."

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