Italy coach John Kirwan was gracious in defeat after his side were convincingly beaten 37-13 by Ireland in Rome.
The Italians failed to repeat their victory over Wales on the opening weekend of the 2003 RBS 6 Nations but despite his disappointment, Kirwan was full of praise for the impressive Irish.
"The Irish have to be happy with their game," he said. "Their Six Nations is on track."
The Italians, who lost record points-scorer Diego Dominguez with a knee injury early in the second half, caused plenty of problems early on for the visitors and at least they managed to breach the Ireland defence for the first time in the championship.
"We probably needed to take a few more risks," admitted Kirwan. "Ireland shut us down in the line-outs and we lacked patience. We needed to have the confidence to hang onto the ball and work our phases.
"We should have taken our chances. We nearly scored three times and we needed to put them away."
Conor O'Shea will lead his side to matches against Fiji and Australia
30 March 2017, 2:36pm
After a disappointing RBS 6 Nations campaign for the Azzurri - losing all five of their Championship matches and picking up their 12th Wooden Spoon - they will be licking their wounds ahead of their summer tour Down Under.
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.