Kidney’s troops needed a last-minute drop goal to see off the Azzurri 13-11 during the opening game of last year’s Championship at the Stadio Flaminio on 5 February.
They have since met each other again – Ireland winning 36-6 to book a quarter-final clash at the World Cup – while this time they welcome Italy to the Aviva Stadium.
However with last year’s Six Nations clash fresh in his mind Kidney insists the Italy known for caving in the last ten minutes is no more and he’s expecting a battle to the end.
“You might not have said it two or three years ago, but at the back of your mind you knew that if you stayed with them for 65-70 minutes, you’d have it over them in the last ten,” said Kidney.
“But that certainly isn’t the case anymore, so it will be an 80-minute Test match. A few things ran our way the last time we played them in the World Cup and that can give them some extra motivation.
“Italy are playing with the ball in hand more than last year. They are retaining the ball very well and have the physicality to do that.
“If you look at last year’s Six Nations we were lucky to pull that one out of the fire at the end with a last-minute drop goal and I don’t see Saturday being any different.”
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