The teams meet in Pool A on Wednesday and Gli Azzurri will be looking to build on their dominant opening-game victory against Namibia, which they won 52-8.
However, Crowley knows just what challenges their South American opponents can pose after they gave France a tough test on Thursday, with the hosts eventually emerging victorious.
“Uruguay pose a massive threat. I was in Canada 15 years ago and they were just starting to get their systems right,” Crowley said.
“They have got a centralised programme in Montevideo. Most of their team plays for a club in the Central American championship. Then you add in the players who play in France and you’ve got a pretty formidable team.
“They’ve got 19 players who have been to one or two World Cups. We are expecting that physical battle. You saw in the France game that their breakdown work was outstanding.”
Italy have made four changes for the game, with Niccolo Cannone, Alessandro Garbisi and Lorenzo Pani all coming into the starting XV along with Saracens’ Marco Riccioni, who starts in the front row. Star player Ange Capuozzo has been moved from the wing to full-back.
Uruguay head coach Esteban Meneses has also made two changes to his team following the France defeat, with hooker German Kessler and winger Gaston Mieres starting.