Italy's defensive co-ordinator is relishing the prospect of two of the game's leading centre partnerships going head-to-head on Sunday when the Azzurri meet Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations in Rome.
Grant Doorey, a former Wallabies team manager and rugby league player, believes the showdown between Ireland's pairing of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy, and their Italian counterparts Gonzalo Canale and Andrea Masi is one well worth waiting for.
O'Driscoll and D'Arcy are widely regarded as the leading centre partnership in world rugby, but Canale and Masi are fast building a reputation as a formidable duo themselves.
Doorey said: "D'Arcy was the best Irish player in the last RBS 6 Nations, he is a great attacker and a very dangerous defender.
"As for Brian O'Driscoll, there is nothing to say anymore, for years he has been perhaps the most respected centre in international rugby.
"He is a warrior in defence and very dangerous with ball in hand - you never know what he can do."
Despite his obvious respect for the Irish duo, Doorey is confident Italy's young guns will not be overawed by the opposition.
"They (O'Driscoll and D'Arcy) really make a great partnership, but we also have two players with enormous quality in Gonzalo Canale and Andrea Masi.
"Both players are wonderful in a tackle situation, they are two great players who are waiting with great patience for this RBS 6 Nations.
"This could be a battle between two great couples and Sunday's match promises fireworks from those players," he said.
"Our defensive line worked hard and well this week and now we are ready to face the Irish."
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.