Italy head coach Franco Smith rued the mistakes which cost his side in their Round 1 defeat against France but was pleased to see evidence of his side’s talent with ball in hand.
The Azzurri went down 50-10 in the opening match of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations against an Antoine Dupont-inspired visiting side at their free-flowing best.
The scrum-half scored one and set up four more as Les Bleus ran out comfortable winners but Italy crossed for one of the tries of the game when Luca Sperandio latched on to his own kick to dot down a consolation.
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Monty Ioane had earlier seen a score disallowed for a forward pass after a sublime pair of dummies by young scrum-half Stephen Varney and Smith saw enough from his inexperienced side to take positives into the remainder of the Championship.
“I don’t think the French are that (much) better than us,” he said. “Physically they are much more built, but there were mistakes we can avoid with patience and experience.
“It will be difficult to be positive for those who only see the result, but we have to think about where to do better. There were negative aspects in our game but we are lacking international experience.
“With ball in hand, we played very well but we conceded five tries from our mistakes – we can improve and recover immediately. You learn from these days.”
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Italy’s backline had just 24 caps between them going into Saturday’s opener and Smith urged patience as he seeks to build a team with an eye on the future as well as the present.
His side travel to Twickenham next weekend to face an England side smarting from a Calcutta Cup defeat in what represents another important step in the maturing process for a promising squad.
“Growing a team internationally is very difficult, but physically the boys were fine and we were equal to them in intensity,” added Smith, who also revealed the two substitutions he made on the half-hour mark were pre-meditated.
“I don’t think it was a lack of determination and will, which has been seen when losing in this way. Next week will certainly be better.”