MIKE Phillips believes playing a high speed game will be the way to put Italy away on Saturday as Wales aim to complete the fourth stage of their Grand Slam bid.

The scrum-half said his side will look to give the big, beefy Azzurri pack the run around at the Millennium Stadium this weekend.

Italy have traditionally relied on a dogfight among the forwards to grind out wins, but new coach Jacques Brunel is trying to broaden their horizons.

It hasn’t met with much success so far, however, Italy going down to heavy defeats away to France and Ireland, although they could have beaten England in Rome during last month’s snowstorm.

Phillips, 29, aiming to win his second Grand Slam after the triumph of 2008, said dictating the game at pace is still the way to break Italian resistance. “Tempo is going to be key against them,” the 2009 Lions star said.

“We need to see if we can test them in that area. We back ourselves on the fitness front, so hopefully we’ll be able to work the ball in hand. They have big guys in their pack. We need to work them in the first 25 minutes by putting a high tempo on the game.

“Hopefully, then, the opportunities will come for our backs.”

Phillips said the heat is on Wales who are expected to give Italy a hiding at the Millennium Stadium, as they have in recent years, winning 33-10 two years ago and 47-8 in 2008, although they were held 18-18 in 2006.

“The pressure is that we are expected to put a big score on Italy,” the Bayonne No 9 said.

“But we know they are a good side who are getting better every year.

“Not only are they an immensely difficult side to break down but their forwards are huge.”

Phillips added: “Every year we play them we have difficulties, so we have to be focused on this game, make sure we are accurate in the first 20 minutes and concentrate.

“We have massive respect for them both as individuals and as a team.”