Italy have no fear of All Blacks

Italy coach Kieran Crowley says his fearless young side will not be fazed by the country's poor record against New Zealand when they take on the All Blacks in a key World Cup Pool A match on Saturday morning.

The Italians have never beaten the All Blacks in 15 attempts, and have often been on the wrong end of big scorelines, but New Zealander Crowley said that would mean nothing in Lyon.

"This team has never played New Zealand and the New Zealand team named has never played Italy," he said.

"We are under no illusions as to what is coming. They are going to come at us, and they are going to be aggressive and they are going to try to intimidate us. They'll try to bully us. We have to embrace that challenge.

"This group of 33 players have really matured over the last 18 months. We've got a lot more confidence in our ability, they back themselves, they have some courage. We have no fear."

Crowley made three changes to his team with Dino Lamb, Luca Morisi and Stephen Varney returning to a matchday squad similar to that which beat Namibia 52-8. Paolo Garbisi returns at flyhalf, Tommaso Allan to fullback and Ange Capuozzo reverting to the wing to complete an exciting backline.

Lock Lamb, who scored a try against Namibia, slots back in for Niccolo Cannone who drops to the bench after the win over Uruguay, while scrumhalf Varney returns in place of Alessandro Garbisi and Morisi is back at centre.

"We've got to show some courage, we've got to play. We are not going out there to try to keep the score down. We are going out there to try to win the game," Crowley added.

"But we are not going to be stupid about how we play. We've looked at the way we think we can put pressure on New Zealand and we will attempt to do that in different places. We will play though."

Italy are currently in second place in Pool A, with 10 points, three points behind France and five ahead of the All Blacks. A surprise win over New Zealand would see Italy reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

Italy team: 15-Tommaso Allan, 14-Ange Capuozzo, 13-Juan Ignacio Brex, 12-Luca Morisi, 11-Montanna Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Stephen Varney, 8-Lorenzo Cannone, 7-Michele Lamaro (captain), 6-Sebastian Negri, 5-Federico Ruzza, 4-Dino Lamb, 3-Marco Riccioni , 2-Giacomo Nicotera, 1-Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: 16-Hame Faiva, 17-Ivan Nemer, 18-Simone Ferrari, 19-Niccolo Cannone, 20-Manuel Zuliani, 21-Toa Halafihi, 22-Martin Page-Relo, 23-Paolo Odogwu.