James Mortimer 13.Nov.2012Getty Images
Brunel has a reputation in France for being able to add some gloss onto fearsome forward packs, with Brunel helping Bernard Laporte as Les Bleus forward’s coach, while under his watch Perpignan managed to claim a French title – won with some flair that came from some fierce work up front.
Despite the fact that his teams tend to be forward orientated units, the former French fullback has pinpointed other areas outside of the Italians forward’s game that need to be worked on.
Brunel believes that Italy’s great weakness is that they don’t take the precious opportunities, but there would have been the faintest smile on the lips of the veteran coach as he watched his men take on Tonga at their own game and claim a vital 28-23 victory.
The All Blacks arrive in Rome this week, before the Italians host the Wallabies.
Like the World Champions, the Italians are taking a ‘focus on us only’ approach, saying that the team must not worry about who opposes them on the field.
"It won't be an easy road, we know it," Brunel said.
“But because we are going to face teams that are ahead of us in the rankings, we must be focused on playing our game and compete from the beginning until the final whistle, so to keep the score close and increase our chances to win games."
Italy defeated Scotland to avoid the Six Nations wooden spoon, and many feel that the team was unlucky not to defeat England and Argentina.
Brunel said that the way the team performs in glimpses is showing the benefits of training, but he was still waiting for the team to deliver it for a full Test match.
“Our players had to face a change in coaching and the traditionally complicated post-World Cup year, but they did it quite nicely,” he said.
“This season we have played only minutes of what we have been working at in training since last November. We need to up our game and support the game-plan for the entire 80 minutes of play. This must be our mission for the next six months.”