Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Italy coach Mallett salutes fantastic victory France V Italy Hospitality

Italy's South African coach Nick Mallett hailed his team's 16-12 victory over Scotland at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday and said it should be cherished.

Italy won for the first time since they beat Scotland 23-20 with a last minute Andrea Marcato drop goal in 2008 and Mallett admitted it was wonderful to feel the glory of victory once again.

"This is the seventh time we've won in 10 years so it's not as if we get many wins and every single win is fantastic," he said.

"We've come very close on a number of occasions such as getting to just five points from England last time out but it's a completely different feeling when we manage to hold onto a win, it's really great for the players and the staff."

Despite Italy's players praising Scotland before the game for the way they have been playing in this tournament, it was the hosts who made the only foray over their opponents tryline.

Italy trailed 12-9 midway through the second period but then Gonzalo Canale made a weaving midfield break and offloaded to Pablo Canavosio who darted under the posts to score.

"The players were very impressed with the way Scotland played against Wales and if they didn't have those two yellow cards they probably would've won," added Mallett.

"The compliments from our players before the game were genuine, they're playing very good rugby and we were nervous before the game about how they would play today in the sunshine with perfect conditions for fast, flowing rugby.

"We're very satisfied to hold them to not scoring a try, even if twice they came close." Mallett was particularly pleased with his team's defence, not just against the Scots but throughout the tournament.

"We knew the Scots play a lot in the hands, they have this high tempo game and play with many phases and they have good individuals," he added.

"Our discipline was very good, it was important to tackle, we had to get in position and we've improved our defence a lot.

"We have only conceded one try in the last 80 minutes against England, 80 minutes against Scotland and the last 50 minutes against Ireland and we're pleased with that." Scotland coach Andy Robinson, the former England international and coach, admitted defeat was hard to take but gave credit to the hosts.

"Any losing experience is pretty deflating, I thought our players put a lot of effort into their performance but we didn't manage the scoreboard well enough and obviously Italy scored a good try which allowed them to win the game," he said before lamenting their poor start that saw them fall 6-0 down.

"Our execution was poor in that first 10 minutes, we dropped a number of balls and that was frustrating for the way we wanted to play.

"We got back in there with some very good play from (man-of-the-match) Dan Parks (author of all 12 Scottish points).

"But in that first 10 minutes we lost the contact battle but also dropped a lot of balls which allowed them to get the six points."

Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen twice drove over the line under a pile of bodies but both times was denied the score after the video referee could not determine whether the ball had been grounded or not.

France V Italy Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

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