Conor O’Shea admitted Italy were simply overpowered by England in their 57-14 Guinness Six Nations defeat at Twickenham.
The Azzurri head coach watched on as England ran in eight tries against the visitors, including braces for Manu Tuilagi and Brad Shields, to claim an important bonus-point win.
Tommaso Allan and Luca Morisi both touched down in response for the Italians, but further tries from Jamie George, George Kruis and Dan Robson ensured England prevailed.
And despite the result not going Italy’s way, O’Shea was full of praise for the resilience his players showed in the face of England’s relentless physicality.
“I’m always unbelievably proud of them, that was the top of the mountain, we knew we were playing an unbelievably physical England,” said O’Shea.
“It’s easy to say when you’re doing your analysis about the missed tackles, but some of that is due to power and some is from pressure, but I thought with the ball we caused problems.
“We showed some really good moments in the match and could have had more out of it than the two tries we got, but they never ever stopped.
“The courage in the second half when we had Andrea Lovotti playing in the back row and we’d lost our three centres and we had lots of moving parts.
“It would have been easy to throw up the white flag, but you didn’t see that. I thought individuals like Federico Ruzza, even though he will be disappointed, was unbelievable.
“He was magnificent and he’s really coming of age for club and country. He’s got years ahead of him and it was good to see Jake [Polledri] back off the bench.
“England are an unbelievably powerful side, they are a hurting side and they are the best side in the Guinness Six Nations in my opinion.”
The bonus-point victory for England means their Championship title hopes remain alive going into the final round of action, although unbeaten Wales remain the frontrunners.
For Italy, they will look to end their 2019 Guinness Six Nations campaign on a high when they welcome France in Rome – a game O’Shea is confident his side can win.
“We’ll dust ourselves down and we’re at home next,” he said. “We know we have good players, who can cause problems, but we know we can’t give away easy tries.
“We don’t want too many front rowers on the pitch by the end of the match next week. Rugby can change very quickly and we’ll be in the game next week.
“We have to get the energy at the right time and we normally train pretty intense, but I don’t think it will be like that the first couple of days this week, it will be trying to get our players patched up and ready.”