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Smith: We must learn from our mistakes against France

Smith: We must learn from our mistakes against France

Smith: We must learn from our mistakes against France

Franco Smith believes the mistakes his young Italy side made during their 36-5 Autumn Nations Cup defeat to France will only help improve them in the long run.

The Azzurri caused their hosts plenty of problems at the Stade de France, taking the lead through Carlo Canna’s first-half try after Matthieu Jalibert had earlier opened the scoring.

But Jonathan Danty powered over to put France 10-5 ahead at the break before further tries from Gabin Villiere, Baptiste Serin, Teddy Thomas and Sekou Macalou put gloss on the result.

And Smith was left to rue the errors which cost his side in Paris, including Jacopo Trulla’s yellow card, insisting his players must take the lessons from their defeat into next weekend’s game.

“We have made mistakes that pay dearly at this level,” he said. “If we rely only on the score of the field we have moved backwards, but also lessons like those are part of the path we have taken.

“We are frustrated, but if next week we show that we have learned from the defeat against France we will still have taken a new step on our path.

“France took the field with a game plan almost identical to ours, mostly based around kicking. They performed better than us, they were more patient and we lost the kicking battle.

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“Against Scotland we dominated in this area of ​​the game but [against France] we took a step back.

“We also tried to attack with ball in hand, it would be ungenerous to say that we have not tried other solutions than those of the tactical kicking game.”

Italy will conclude their Autumn Nations Cup campaign on Finals Weekend in the 5th/6th place play-off with Wales, who finished third in Group A after beating Georgia and losing to Ireland and England.

And Smith stressed the importance of not looking solely at his side’s results to measure their progress, highlighting how his players are on a steep learning curve this autumn.

“We are experiencing a phase of renewal of the group, two thirds of the athletes on the field were not with us a few months ago. Every match is a great challenge for us,” he added.

“We must be realistic and know that measuring our growth only with results can be frustrating.

“We work to bring this group to win and even the defeats are part of the process that will lead this group of athletes to be the backbone of the national team for the next six to eight years, and to be a difficult opponent for anyone to challenge.”

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