Wales may be favourites to emerge from the Italian job with a second successive RBS 6 Nations victory on Saturday but skipper Gareth Thomas is taking nothing for granted ahead of the clash.
Wales' record try-scorer is more than aware of the threat Italy pose, especially at home, but even he sat up and took notice of the way they dominated Ireland for long periods before slipping to a 28-17 defeat at the Stadio Flaminio last weekend.
"I was really impressed with the first 40 minutes Italy produced," the full-back said.
"They have a brutal pack, and I think they have progressed as a team over the last couple of years. It's good for the tournament they have progressed too.
"It's just great the Italians are being seen as a force, because when they first came into it they were kind of seen as the whipping boys.
"Even before the England game we were under no illusions it would be a tough game in Rome, and the Italy-Ireland game has just reiterated that."
Having lost in Rome last time, the Wales management are doing all they can to minimise the threat of defeat.
To that end, coach Mike Ruddock will remind his players of last summer's tour to South America.
"We went to Argentina last summer with a lot of injuries and we battled away at two difficult venues," Ruddock recalled.
"We just lost the first match but had a brilliant win in the second - and it's that sort of away win we will talk about as a standard we can achieve away from home."
Mako Vunipola may be his rival for a starting spot in England's front row but Joe Marler is ecstatic to have his fellow loosehead back in the international fold - claiming it will spur him on to even greater heights.