Australian coach Robbie Deans wants the referees' crackdown at the breakdown to remain a priority throughout the World Cup, as the Wallabies shape up to Italy in their opening match at North Harbour on Sunday.
Deans said referees have been instructed to strictly police the breakdown contest to prevent a recurrence of the much criticised 2007 World Cup when many games were decided on penalty goals at the expense of flowing rugby.
"The breakdown has been communicated as a key area for the referees, let's hope it stays that way or it could get ugly," Deans said Saturday.
"When you get two fully committed sides it has that potential and if we're honest that's what 2007 [World Cup] was like.
"So hopefully it will remain a priority. Italy will look to play a territory game, they're very good at it."
The Wallabies' star openside flank David Pocock said his team was familiar with the refereeing style of Irish match referee Alain Rolland and would adapt.
"We know Alain Rolland's style and I guess for the team it's a matter of adapting to how he's refereeing and we'll see how we go," he said.
Deans is expecting a tough afternoon against the Azzurri first-up for the two-time World Cup champions.
"Every other nation, except England at Twickenham, has really struggled to prevail against them so we're not presuming anything and the nature of tournament play is you or you die," Deans said.
"They are a physically able group, capable group, very resilient and they don't give you anything, you have to earn everything you get and in this tournament those are qualities that work well for teams.
"The different nature of this tournament is that teams arrived pumped full of adrenaline, they give it everything, the passion is evident, so if we're not at that point in our preparation then we'll suffer," Deans said.
"How you manage those emotion is key and an important part of being successful at the World Cup.
Italy coach Nick Mallett rates the Wallabies as the form team heading into the World Cup and says his Azzurri team face the toughest start possible to the tournament.
"As the Reds won the Super Rugby [competition] and Australia won the Tri-Nations this year one could argue that they are the form team going into this World Cup," Mallett said.
"And that would make it the toughest start possible."
Mallett has named one of his most experienced line-ups to face the second-ranked Wallabies and is hoping to provide a stern challenge for Deans's team.
Mallett made two changes to the 11th-ranked Italy team that lost 23-12 in a World Cup warm-up at Murrayfield last month, with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini in for Fabio Ongaro and Alessandro Zanni replacing Paul Derbyshire at blindside flank.
Tensions have been simmering at Wallaby training this week with reports of punches being thrown.
Pocock was quoted as saying the "the boys just got stuck in to each other" as it got willing at training.
"It was brutal. It was full-on contact, very physical and pretty intense," Pocock said.
Centre Anthony Fainga'a said it was just "healthy competition" within the Wallaby squad in the countdown to the World Cup opener.
"There's 30 guys in a squad and only 22 can put on the jumpers so there's always going to be a few punches and words at training," the Queensland Reds' midfielder said.
"There's spots up for grabs and no one has really secured their spot so it's one of those things that need to be sorted."
On paper it looks relatively plain sailing with the second-ranked Australians unbeaten in all their 13 previous encounters against the Italians.
Yet Deans has great respect for the belligerent Azzurri forward pack and is mindful of Italy's 22-21 upset of France in this year's Six Nations.
Players to watch:
For Australia: You will start by watching Australia's exciting runners - Kurtley Beale, Anthony Fainga'a, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane and most of all Quade Cooper. But the spearhead to this exciting backline is scrumhalf Will Genia. You will also keep a close eye on No.8 Radike Samo, himself a priceless player with ball in hand. Then there is master poacher David Pocock.
For Italy: You will always get value for money out of grizzled veteran prop Martin Castrogiovanni - whether that is charging ahead with the ball in hand or at scrum time. The backline stars worth keeping an eye on include fullback Andrea Masi, veteran centre Gonzalo Canale and wing Mirco Bergamasco. Apart from 'Castro', other forwards worth observing are captain and No.8 Sergio Parisse - perhaps their most valuable player - along with the South African pair at lock, Cornelius van Zyl and Carlo Del Fava.
Head to head: The battle of the flyhalves will be interesting - with the fleet-footed Quade Cooper (Australia) up against the unheralded Luciano Orquera (Italy). Then there will be the scrum battle - the one place where Italy may have a clear edge - Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Sekope Kepu (Australia) against Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Andrea Lo Cicero (Italy).
2010: Australia won 32-14, Florence
2009: Australia won 34-12, Melbourne
2009: Australia won 31-8, Canberra
2008: Australia won 30-20, Padua
2006: Australia won 25-18, Rome
2005: Australia won 69-21, Melbourne
2002: Australia won 34-3, Genoa
1996: Australia won 40-18, Padua
1994: Australia won 20-7, Melbourne
1994: Australia won 23-20, Brisbane
Prediction: Italy have not managed a single win in 13 previous attempts at upstaging Australia, a suggestion that the Wallabies simply have had too much class and depth over the years. The closest the Azzurri came was back in 1994 - a three-point (20-23) loss in Brisbane. This game may well continue that trend - with the Wallabies et to show the chasm between Tri-Nations and Six Nations rugby. Australia to win by about 15 points.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 James O'Connor.
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Paul Derbyshire, 20 Edoardo Gori, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Luke McLean.
Date: Sunday, September 11
Kick-off: 15.30 (03.30 GMT)
Venue: North Harbour Stadium, Albany
Expected weather: Rain predicted, with a high of 19°C and a low of 9°C
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland))
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
AFP & rugby365.com
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.