The Azzurri also impressed against New Zealand in their autumn campaign, and in defeat to England at Twickenham a week before beating Ireland, but mixed in with their positive performances were disappointing defeats to Wales and Scotland, going down 26-9 and 34-10 respectively.
And while this year's two victories have given rise to optimism - not least because they have been drawn with France and Ireland in their 2015 World Cup pool - Brunel wants that performance level to be the yardstick.
"I always said I'd wait until the Ireland game to judge our performance, but this result leaves me with two totally different ideas," said Brunel.
"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 and had a poor match against Wales.
"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."