Italy coach Pierre Berbizier has steeled his men for a Wales backlash in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations Championship clash at the Millennium Stadium.
Wales were beaten 31-5 against Ireland a fortnight ago and have hardly lived up to their billing as Grand Slam champions this season.
Add the departure of Mike Ruddock into the equation, plus the uncertainty that exists over the future of caretaker coach Scott Johnson, and Welsh rugby appears in a state of flux.
But Berbizier, the former France scrum-half and Grand Slam-winning coach, refuses to believe Wales will be an easy target.
''It is always a problem when you change a coach - there is always a reaction and I expect a big performance from the Welsh team,'' Berbizier said.
''The players want to prove at the Millennium Stadium that they can play to the levels of last year, when they won the Grand Slam.
''It will be very hard for us. They are playing at home and they are a quality team but it is a good opportunity to continue to build our team.''
While Wales have struggled - their one victory over Scotland was sandwiched by defeats to England and Ireland in addition to the off-field issues - Italy have markedly improved this season.
They matched Ireland, England and France for an hour but emerged with nothing to show from each game and have still not won away from home in the Six Nations.
That quest goes on and Berbizier is acutely aware Italy cannot afford to drop off the pace in the final quarter if they are to achieve success this weekend.
''If we play as well as we can it will be a big game for us. We will have to find a way to bring that out,'' said Berbizier.
''Our target is to build our team and to play the best game we can. We did that against Ireland and England, not against France.
''The objective is to play the best we can at this moment - and we hope that Wales are not at their best.''
Berbizier believes Wales fly-half Stephen Jones holds the key. Jones has been passed fit after suffering a dead leg against Ireland a fortnight ago.
''Stephen Jones is a player with a lot of experience, he controls the game very well. Wales without Stephen Jones are not the same side as Wales with him,'' he said.