We definitely must take Italy seriously in our first match of the tournament. Last year we lost our opener to Scotland and it shows how important it is to throw ourselves into the competition right from the start.
I expect the Italy players to display a very aggressive game against us. The Italians know us very well as most of their players play in France.
It is true that we are the favourites to win the game but it will not happen without us displaying a huge physical and psychological performance.
Bernard Laporte's idea to choose a rather experienced team for is an intelligent choice. It's important to win the first matches and then do a turnover.
It will also be interesting to see how the new half-back pack of David Skrela and Pierre Mignoni behave in an international context. Skrela has proven with his club that he was a great number 10 but he will also be the goalkicker against Italy and it will be a good test for him.
I was surprised with our disappointing results during the Autumn test-matches but at the same time it is typical of the French attitude.
I feel the players have difficulties to express themselves fully during a match but at the same I have confidence this will change during the tournament because they have to show their best to secure a place at the World Cup.
Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.