The president of the Italian Rugby Federation, Giancarlo Dondi, has demanded the Azzurri "battle to the death" when they take on Wales in their next RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Dondi was left deflated by Italy's second-half showing against France at the weekend when they surrendered a 12-8 half-time lead to lose 37-12, their third straight defeat in the tournament.
That defeat followed a similar pattern to Italy's opening two RBS 6 Nations matches, where they led against both Ireland and England in the early stages of the second period before running out of steam and finishing empty-handed.
Italy are still receiving plaudits for their performances so far but Dondi believes the time has come for the Azzurri to take things to another level when they meet Wales at the Millennium Stadium on March 11.
"Certainly now we are going to Cardiff to battle them to the death. I want to see a team capable of making the most of the situation," Dondi said.
"If the Welsh win and deserve it, all the best to them, but we must go and show a great display of rugby, like we did in the first two games. No, sorry, I want even better than that, the team now need to show the best they have.
"In rugby there are no excuses, if you play well, everybody will say you are a good team, even if you lose games. But if you play badly, whatever you did before it doesn't matter anymore," he added.
"So the next game, you must show your value again, so in the next match Italy need to play at their best to restore some pride."
With regards to the defeat at the Stade de France, Dondi admitted: "I'm very disappointed about last Saturday.
"We played well in the first half, putting so much pressure on them, and if we were a bit more clinical I really believe we could have gone into the interval with a bigger lead.
"But France stayed with us and this was vital for them.
"The second half was bad for my team. Never mind the French tries, in my point of view we approached it in a very negative way, maybe we thought it was going to be like the first half, with them trying to stay near us."
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