Italy v Wales: Ross Moriarty says competition has improved him

Ross Moriarty
Ross Moriarty was born in England and plays his club rugby for Gloucester
RBS Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Sunday, 5 February Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app from 18:00 GMT on Sunday; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live; text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Wales forward Ross Moriarty says the competition for back-row places has made him a better player.

The 22-year old, whose father Paul and uncle Richard both played for Wales, will win his 13th cap in the Six Nations match against Italy on Sunday.

Moriarty is competing with the likes of Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau for a starting spot.

"I have had a few opportunities over the last season and a half, and I am enjoying myself," he said.

"Every game I play, I give everything I've got. You can never take your foot off the gas."

The Gloucester player, who made his international debut against Ireland in August 2015, says he feels "comfortable" in the Wales team.

He added: "There is a lot of competition... and it is making me a better player."

With Faletau inured, Moriarty will line up at number eight against Italy, with Warburton and Tipuric on the flanks.

He knows he could lose his starting spot as soon as Friday, when Wales face England at the Principality Stadium.

And he says he does not mind which position he plays in - as long as he is on the pitch.

"I played most of the autumn series this season at number eight," said Moriarty. "Toby [Faletau] came off the bench against South Africa and he went to eight and I went to six, which I am happy to do.

"Number eight makes me learn and develop new skills, and gives me another bow.

"Whether Toby is fit or not, I know I have to give my best, no matter what position I am playing in."

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Moriarty said Wales have been training to deal specifically with the threat of Italy captain and number eight Sergio Parisse.

They have even had what Moriarty describes as "a nominated Parisse" during training sessions.

"He has been around for quite a while, playing for Italy from a young age, and he has plenty of caps and experience," he said.

"When I watched the Six Nations, he was always one of the standout players for Italy, and you cannot take away the fact he is a quality player.

"He is one of their main ball players in terms of carrying and skills. He is a big man in their team, and we have done a lot of analysis on him."

Wales, who are preparing to play twice in six days, have staged two 15-a-side practice matches - the first controlled by 2015 World Cup final referee Nigel Owens.

"It has been competitive," Moriarty said. "The games were intense.

"When it is full contact, it is full contact. We test each other and show what we can do, and it is really enjoyable."

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