Italian rugby supremo Giancarlo Dondi believes the Azzurri have to produce a compelling display at Twickenham against world champions England to prove they deserve a place in the RBS 6 Nations tournament.
Italy have been beaten in all three matches so far this season and are seeking to avoid the wooden spoon although, bizarrely, so are England who have also lost all three games they have played.
Italy have won only three of the 28 matches they have contested since joining the then Five Nations tournament in 2000, and are yet to taste victory on foreign soil.
However, Dondi, president of the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR), wants his men to prove themselves at what is arguably the most famous rugby stadium in the world.
Dondi said: "We are proud to be play in Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.
"Personally, as president, I really believe this is a great achievement for the Italian Rugby Federation and for our fans who are coming to support and see us in a country where rugby union has made a huge and historic impact for many years."
But Dondi realises Italy still have to silence the doubters.
He said: "It will be like a judgement day for us. We are going to face one of the best teams in the world despite the injuries or the defeats they have suffered in this RBS 6 Nations.
"We have to play at our very best, let's say at 110%. We have to play a good rugby game I hope with great passion and good individual skills when we need it.
"I'm sure if we go onto the pitch with the mentality to do something, our and the English fans could be going home happy and in a celebratory mood.
"If we lose, we will not make a song and dance about it but we hope to put on a good rugby display to everyone and show why we deserve to be in the RBS 6 Nations tournament."
Dondi believes Italy will have to be competitive in all areas of the field if they are to give England a fright in front of their home fans.
He said: "My point of view is that the key to the game will be a great defensive display and to counter-attack quickly without giving away any crucial balls.
"We have to press them all the time and be ambitious in the back division with fast counter-attacks."
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