Conor O’Shea says Italy will be hurting “more than ever” after passing up several chances in their Six Nations defeat to France.
The Azzurri ended the campaign with five losses from five matches but should have capitalised on numerous opportunities in the 25-14 reverse at the hands of Les Bleus on Saturday.
Debutant Marco Zanon was particularly guilty of passing up chances and Italy were made to pay.
Coach O’Shea praised his side’s mentality yet acknowledged that this latest Rome defeat was particularly painful for his side.
“It’s really difficult, really difficult for the guys,” he told ITV Sport. “We’ll dust ourselves down and say that, a lot of the time in this Six Nations, we’ve given a huge amount.
“The competitiveness of this squad is going forward through all the things, but we should have won today. We had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. We showed fight.
“We didn’t execute – that’s the bottom line. But if we continue to play with that level of intensity, it’ll come. At the moment, wow, it’s hard.”
— Italrugby (@Federugby) March 16, 2019
With captain Sergio Parisse perhaps playing his last Six Nations match, O’Shea praised of the impact of the result on his senior men: “These guys have an unbelievable mentality to keep coming back.
“They’ll hurt more than ever tonight, but they’ll come back.”
Even with Camille Chat in the sin bin for the last 10 minutes, Italy could not close the gap to France and instead saw the brilliant Damian Penaud seal an away victory.
Parisse added: “Honestly, I’m not thinking about myself and whether this is my last game or not, it’s just really disappointing.
“We’re frustrated because we managed the game, we had massive opportunities and we were a little bit unlucky as well sometimes.”
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