RESULTS over the past fortnight in Italy show that we will have to be on the top of our game to get that elusive away win at Zebre this weekend.

We will go to Parma with confidence after our last performance in the Guinness PRO12, when we pushed a quality Ulster side all the way, but with plenty of respect for our hosts.

Two weeks ago the Ospreys lost in Treviso and last week champions Connacht went down to defeat to Zebre.

Even though it was their first home win of the season in the PRO12, very few teams have gone there and had it easy, in fact lots have had to work until the 80th minute for the win.

We will give them the respect they deserve and let’s be honest, they will see us as another opportunity to win with us not having a win away this season.

We have watched the footage of the Connacht game and it was an odd one with both sides missing opportunities. A problem for us this season has been our accuracy and execution at key points and the same applied to them both.

To be fair, Zebre aren’t the stereotypical Italian side that just grinds it out at the set piece. They like to play attacking rugby so the key for us is to build into the game.

The big emphasis is to not play too loosely and flamboyantly – plenty of teams have done that through the years and come unstuck.

They have a bit of momentum and some talented individuals and we know from experience what a good side they can be, especially on their own patch, but we have to go there with confidence.

If we repeat our work ethic from the Ulster game and attack in the way that we did then I am sure the pressure will pay off, because I believe a lot of sides that aren’t quite up to Ulster’s standard would have folded.

We have to learn some lessons from that game and also from our meeting with Zebre way back in September.

We did a bit of analysis of our game against them in the second week of the season and we didn’t recognise the green grass of Rodney Parade!

It looked stunning and that shows what a quality pitch it was before the hectic fixture lists of three teams took its toll.

Zebre had come to Newport on the back of a heavy loss at the Ospreys and they were fired-up while we were too loose, playing too much.

But if we stick to the game plan and build pressure then we are confident that we can get that elusive away win.

Unfortunately, we had last weekend off after not making the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup but it did mean we got the donkey work done for Zebre last week before a short break to come back in refreshed and ready to go.

It’s been a good week of training and on Tuesday some of us in a leadership group had an invaluable meeting with Kevin Bowring at our training base in Ystrad Mynach.

It was set up through head coach Kingsley Jones, who was coached by him, and Kevin is also mentoring our forwards coach Ceri Jones for his level four coaching badge.

As a former Wales coach he clearly knows his stuff and it was obvious straight away why he is so highly respected in the game.

Some of the stuff that he talked about will be really valuable for us, not just in the last four games of the season but leading into next year.

It was very productive and I certainly got some benefit from it and insight about how teams and leaders should work.

I’ll try and implement some of that thinking and I am sure the other boys will – and it wasn’t just experienced players in the room.

The likes of Ollie Griffiths will be key in developing the culture here and he shows that it’s not just a case of shouting to rally the troops.

It’s about saying and doing the right things at the right time and Ollie has demonstrated that despite being 22. He has not only been doing fantastic things on the field but he is a future international because of his attitude off it.

In past seasons we might have lacked some leadership at times because of the youth in our side but I think that is changing. We just need to realise our strengths, become confident and execute our game plan.