Second row Federico Ruzza grabbed a try and put in a man-of-the-match display as his Benetton side beat Zebre 28-10 in the Guinness PRO14.
The lock put in the kind of powerhouse performance which he would hope to replicate in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
Ruzza was a leader at the set-piece while contributing in the loose, particularly for his try just after the break.
He was involved against champions Ireland, France and Wales in the most recent campaign and also featured when Italy faced off against the Irish in the Autumn Internationals.
The Benetton forward was involved in a neat bit of interplay on the left wing with winger Iliesa Tavuyara as he scored the crucial second try, which saw the Italian lock power over to extend his side’s lead.
Italy boss Conor O’Shea was in the crowd at the Stadio Monigo to see a host of his international stars play and his choice on who starts at fly-half will not be any easier going into Rugby’s Greatest Championship in February.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) December 29, 2018
Carlo Canna scored all of the visitors’ points as he grabbed a consolation try for Zebre, burrowing over after some rumbling forward play late on.
While Tommaso Allan, who has competed with his countryman for the No.10 jersey for the last few seasons, gave an assured display at stand-off for the victors as he notched 11 points.
There were a host of impressive performances for Benetton, particularly in the pack.
Hooker Luca Bigi as well as back-rowers Michele Lamaro and Abraham Steyn showed the kind of steel O’Shea will want to see from his pack during the Championship early next year.
Another positional battle the Italy coach would have assess was Jayden Hayward and Edoardo Padovani contesting the full-back jersey.
Both made contributions in Treviso, with Zebre man Padovani showing up in the statistics as he carried for 71 metres on 14 carries, the most of any man on either side.