Italy coach Jacques Brunel believes his side can still improve if they are to become a true force to be reckoned with in the game.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel insisted his side have plenty to do if they are to become a true force to be reckoned with despite finishing their Six Nations campaign on a high with an historic win over Ireland.
Ireland took the road to Rome hoping to finish a torrid campaign with a win at the Olympic Stadium, but Declan Kidney's injury-hit squad succumbed 22-15 with Italy scoring the only try.
Italy had shown the same signs of marked improvement in a determined first outing last month when they secured a deserved 23-18 win at home to France.
Subsequent losses to England, Scotland and Wales tempered that joy and threatened to dump the Azzurri among the wooden spoon candidates.
However a packed-out crowd of around 70,000 witnessed a determined Italy punish an ill-disciplined Ireland side which has now failed to score a try in four Six Nations outings.
Italy finished fourth on the table, one place ahead of Ireland and two ahead of France, having won twice in the tournament for only the second time.
While it rubber-stamped the progress Italy had shown since producing strong performances against the All Blacks and Wallabies in the November Tests, Brunel believes they are far from the finished product.
“I always said I'd wait until the Ireland game to judge our performance, but today's result leaves me with two totally different ideas,” he said.
“On the one hand, there's a consistency since our matches against the All Blacks and through to France, England and Ireland.
“We played well against all those teams, but we were beaten in Scotland (34-10) and had a poor match against Wales (26-9).
“We still don't have that capacity to be always consistent at this level. But our character, and the performances we produced against all these teams shows that we're on the right road.”