Italy coach Mallett rues ‘one of the worst days’

Italy coach Nick Mallett was left ruing “one of the worst days” of his career after his side were thrashed 59-13 by England in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former South Africa coach blamed his team’s poor tackling and misfiring line-out for a lopsided defeat which came just one week after the Italians had almost beaten Ireland in Rome.

Asked if the performance was the worst of his four-year tenure as coach of the Azzurri, Mallett replied: “It’s certainly one of the worst days.”

“I never thought that we would play a game like we did today after the past two weeks,” Mallett said. “I never thought we could be so poor in the one-on-one situations.

“What was very disappointing today was that the team was focused and wanted to do well. But games of rugby can go badly wrong.

“I don’t think Australia expected to concede 30-odd points when they came here last year,” Mallett added, referring to England’s record victory over the Wallabies at Twickenham in last year’s November internationals.

“I know we can play better than that and we’re looking forward to trying to put it right against Wales. Certainly it’s a very unhappy dressing room and I’m a very unhappy coach.”

Mallett meanwhile said Italy’s malfunctioning lineout had gifted England too much attacking ball.

“We didn’t expect to play as poorly as we did today. England played well but we were to blame for a lot of the reasons why England had so much ball on attack,” he said.

“Against Ireland we won 12 out of 14 lineouts and today I think out of 12 or 13 we lost eight throws. When you’re giving away first phase lineout ball as easily as we did you’re giving Englnd a lot to attack.

“And they counter-attacked well. The moment the game broke up we struggled one-on-one to tackle some of the England players.”

Italy’s inspirational skipper Sergio Parisse said the team would seek to put the defeat behind them as quickly as possible as they prepared to face Wales in Rome in two weeks time.

“The only positive thing is that we’re going to play Wales in two weeks,” Parisse said.

“There is nothing to say from the game point of view. We missed so many tackles and we were poor from a mental point of view today.

“For everybody it’s bad to lose by 50 points. We’re sad and disappointed. But we can talk all night about what went wrong — but we have to make sure we play better against Wales.”

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