Italy coach Nick Mallett and tough-tackling flanker Mauro Bergamasco felt that a poor first half, during which they conceded 10 points, ultimately led to the Azzurri’s downfall at Croke Park.
Mauro Bergamasco, who was the game’s top tackler with an incredible 16 hits, felt his side had played better than they did at Ravenhill last August when they were minutes away from a surprise win over Ireland.
“This was better. I don’t know why. You can ask the same question of the Italian team from the last Six Nations tournament and the World Cup. Different moments, different minds, different preparation.
“But I think this is better than our last game in Ireland. We will see in our next games,” said the Stade Francais clubman.
“Today I felt we made too much errors in our midfield, so we gave the chance to have three points every time. This is not good. It is something we can talk about when we look at the video.
“I think we can do something more but I know we have not a lot of time to prepare a new game so…I’m not happy because we lost. But I’m confident for the future.”
And his views on the Irish team? “I think they got a lot of pressure from the Italian team and they weren’t expecting it. Maybe, sometimes, their confidence can go down just a little bit because you’re not expecting the other team to do something like that.”
Former South African boss Nick Mallett, who was in charge of the first Italian side to grace Croke Park, was in an upbeat mood afterwards despite the defeat.
“There were lots of positives we can take out of the game. I thought our lineout was outstanding. Our physicality around the ruck and maul was very good and we scored a great try and our control of the drive was good,” he insisted.
“We were territorially under a lot of pressure. The most positive thing was the attitude of the team and apart from one isolated incident I want to commend Sergio Parisse for the way he captained the side.
“I think that if we are realistic, we were quite lacking in the first half. There were two occasions where we could have conceded tries. We weren’t brilliant but in the second half we did well in that department.”
Asked his opinions on Ireland and whether they were worthy winners, he added: “I’d rather not talk about Ireland. I think they created a little bit more in attacking opportunities than we did and from a territorial point of view they were also on top.
“On the basis of those two they deserved to win but rugby is a very strange game and what is crucial is to stay in touch with 10 to 15 minutes to go.
“We were still in the game at that stage and that is very important for this Italian team – to remain in the game for as long as possible.”