Tommaso Allan knows Italy must improve before tackling Ireland
Italy avoided a Canadian calamity at Elland Road on Saturday but fly-half Tommaso Allan admits the team must improve offensively if they are to even make a contest of their World Cup clash with Ireland next weekend.
Jacques Brunel's men suffered mental and physical scars from an encounter they may have looked upon as a five-pointer as Canada impressed in all areas.
Canada coach Kieran Crowley put the 23-18 defeat down to an overall inexperience in his side against the more battle-hardened Italians, who were able to bring the vastly-experienced Mauro Bergamasco off the bench to appear in a fifth World Cup.
Allan kicked a vital 13 points in the win, with prop Michele Rizzo and centre Gonzalo Garcia touching down in response to Canadian tries from man of the match DTH van der Merwe and Matt Evans.
It was the try that did not count which was arguably decisive however, with Phil Mackenzie's touchdown chalked off for a forward pass by Conor Trainor.
Ireland are Italy's next opponents, and Allan knows his team have an awful lot to work on.
"It was harder than expected, Canada really brought a good game," he said.
" Getting out of our field is quite messy, in the breakdown area we need to clear the ball better and we keep getting slow ball or dirty ball from the scrum-half and that didn't help us.
"We pride ourselves on our defence, that's one of our good strengths. We defended well, but we've got to improve our attacking.
"A win's a win, it hasn't happened since February so we can build on this going towards Ireland. The boys aren't as happy as they could have been but we shuttered it out until the end of the game."
Italy are expected to provide injury updates on inspirational number eight Sergio Parisse (calf) and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini (leg) on Monday, but Allan has backed the existing experience in the team to cope if either, or both, fail to play any further part.
"We miss Sergio but we've got a good replacement, Samuela (Vunisa) played well again," he said.
"If Sergio comes in it's a bonus. He's been a great leader of the team for the past 10 years but all the boys have gained more responsibility in his absence which I think helps for the future."
Canada lock Jamie Cudmore, one of the few members of the squad with a decent level of top-flight experience, admitted the mood in their dressing room was one of frustration at the end.
"The forward pass - for the good of rugby they could have let it go," the Clermont-Auvergne man said.
"It's frustrating because I thought we were the better team, we played a better brand of rugby. We didn't take our chances in the first 20 minutes and then we couldn't punch it over in the end.
"But we've shown over the last few weeks that we can play with the big boys. With some of our Sevens guys getting more XVs experience they are showing a lot better game management and hopefully we can continue and progress."