Italy captain Sergio Parisse firmly believes that his side deserve their place in the Six Nations despite a shocking loss to Ireland.
The Azzurri look destined for the Wooden Spoon after four losses with a trip to Wales to come on the final weekend.
Ireland ran nine past tries past a woeful Italian defence in Dublin as Parisse's side crashed to a 58-15 defeat – a major loss which Parisse called on Italy to learn from.
"It is a question I think (that is asked) when you lose matches like that. People will say if Italy deserve to play this tournament or not," Parisse told the Six Nations website.
"But when you see what we have done in the past, even against Ireland a couple of years ago (when Italy won 22-15 at home in 2013), I think Italy really deserve to play this tournament.
"This team needs to learn from matches like the one we lost today.
"Everybody must give more. The first half was very poor but I wasn't expecting such a bad second half. I hate losing but I want to keep positive. I need to stay positive for my team."
Head coach Jacques Brunel, stepping down after the tournament, admitted that his side were outmatched physically by Ireland on a dire day for his side.
"Ireland was above us physically today – we were unable to stop them," Brunel said.
"If you give them time and space, they will show their qualities. We worked in the week on slowing them down, but it did not happen today.
"Our ambition today was to be competitive – but we failed. We wanted to put some pressure on Ireland. We have many young guys in the team but they need to learn how to play in the Test arena."