New Italy coach Pierre Berbizier has brought a sense of team discipline to the Azzurri, according to captain Marco Bortolami.
The Padova-born second-rower believes that in the short time Berbizier has been in charge, after taking over from former All Black John Kirwan, Italy have become a more cohesive unit on the field.
''The French approach to rugby is very different to the English style,'' Bortolami said during a break from their tight training schedule as they prepared for Saturday's one-off Test against Australia at Telstra Dome.
''We showed against Argentina that we are playing a lot more as a team. We have definitely improved that area of our game.
''You don't buy a team in three weeks but he has some good ideas and we are already seeing the results.''
Bortolami, who skippered Italy in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship during which they failed to win a match, believes the dramatic one-point win over the Pumas in Argentina last Friday will provide the springboard for a strong build-up to the 2007 World Cup in France.
''We are in a building phase but we are a young squad and the coach has another two years to find the right blend,'' said Bortolami.
Bortolami, 25, believes centres Gonzalo Canale and Andrea Masi hold the key to Italy producing one of the surprises of the international season on Saturday.
''They both played well against Argentina and if they get good ball from the pack we could see some surprises.''
Italy are noted for their strong running and exciting, attacking flair but in South Africa-born full-back Gert Peens they have an accurate goal kicker whose three conversions and three penalties against Argentina got the Azzurri across the line.
''We also had a good defence against Argentina,'' said Bortolami.
''I believe we can compete with Australia if we continue to improve on the Argentina
performance and they play to about 90 per cent of their strength.''
Italy are set to name an unchanged line-up after Wednesday's training for the clash with the Wallabies.