Sergio Parisse is expecting a rigorous physical examination against Wales on Saturday but remains confident Italy can kick-start their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a victory over the reigning champions.
The Azzurri will claim yet another wooden spoon if they lose to the Welsh at the Millennium Stadium, having already suffered spirited defeats to Ireland, England and France earlier in the tournament.
Wales, however, have struggled this year and have lost the spark, especially in their backs, that brought them the Grand Slam in the 2005 RBS 6 Nations.
Parisse, the Stade Francais number eight, believes the Welsh pack will ask questions of the Azzurri forwards but has not ruled out an upset in Cardiff.
"I saw Wales when they played Scotland and also against Ireland," the 21-year-old said.
"They play a style somewhere between that of the English and the French.
"They are a physical team, but we can beat them on Saturday if we are on top of our game."
Italy earned many plaudits following their displays in the first three games.
A debatable refereeing decision proved to be the difference in their opening game against Ireland, which finished 26-16, while they posed England many problems before finally cracking in a 31-16 loss.
They looked as though they were going to provide the shock of the tournament when they took a 12-8 half-time lead over France in Paris a fortnight ago, but Les Bleus launched a revival in the second half and ended up comfortable 37-12 winners.
Parisse added: "We have to be careful and play like we did against Ireland and England.
"We can win if we play at our best and it would be nice if we could take home a win to stop the run of honourable defeats."