Italy captain Luca Bigi admitted his side’s Guinness Six Nations Round 3 defeat to Ireland was a bitter pill to swallow, coming after such a positive week of preparation.
The Azzurri had spells of attacking promise and Johan Meyer dotted down in the first half, but Ireland proved too strong as a Will Connors double alongside further scores from Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan, CJ Stander and Keith Earls secured a 48-10 win for Andy Farrell’s side.
Having lost 50-10 to France in Round 1, Franco Smith’s men bounced back with a much-improved showing against England a fortnight ago, which had given them confidence on their return to Rome for the visit of Ireland.
And, having been buoyed a brilliant build-up to the game, Bigi could not hide his frustration at the full-time whistle.
“It’s a tough journey for us,” Bigi said. “It’s incredibly frustrating because we were very confident during the week.
“We bring a lot of positives from the England game, we were prepared for the battle on the field.
“I think we put our bodies on the front for our country, for the jersey. We conceded two easy penalties, we didn’t control our attack and we have to learn from that because it’s tough to accept at the moment.
“We couldn’t get momentum from our attack so we were a bit frustrated.”
Smith’s attacking project was on display for parts of the contest, with influential 20-year-old fly-half Paolo Garbisi a key figure as the young side showed signs of their promise.
And, with contests against Wales and Scotland to come, Smith will hope there are further signs of improvement and a strong finish to the 2021 Championship.
Indeed, Italy’s captain stressed that his troops will be hungry to take the lessons of the defeat onboard heading into Rounds 4 and 5.
Bigi added: “We have two games left, we have a few days off and then we’re back in the camp and obviously our focus will be on the next two games.
“We have learn from these kind of matches because how we built the week, how we bring the confidence in this kind of game was superb but we have to learn, It’s tough to accept.”