Defiant Conor O'Shea doesn't care what people say about Italy
Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has said that he doesn't care what people have to say about his side after their agonising loss to France on Saturday.
A late try from Damian Penaud ultimately killed off Italy's chances of a drought breaking win despite the hosts giving a very good account of themselves in Rome.
Italy boasted 65% of possession and 71% of the territory and yet still conceded three tries but O'Shea was upbeat after another winless campaign and insists the Azzurri are going in the right direction.
"At this stage you don't forget but you remember things that happen in the first-half and the ball being lost over the line a couple of occasions. It's harder not to score than to score and maybe pressure does some things to people but it's life at this level.
"These guys have to understand that the progress that they've made is huge. We're judged on results, I'll be judged on results. I don't really care what people do and say about this Italian project, we're going in the right direction, but today was a chance and we didn't take it."
Despite O'Shea's losing record, Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri insists that the Ireland international is doing a good job with both the national and club sides and added that Italian Rugby chiefs would be foolish to relieve him of his duties.
"He has not only come over and changed the whole approach of the national side in terms of professionalism and fitness, compared to before - he has done that at all the clubs," Polledri told The Telegraph.
"Benetton are second in their Pro14 group and doing unbelievably well, even with so many players away on international duty. We have a massive amount of young players coming through.
"Conor has made a massive change-up and it has worked for the best.
"There are rumours that he could be questioned about his job. If they were to get rid of him it would be one, ridiculous. Two, stupid. And three, they need him.
"They need someone in there who has that taste of professionalism and knows what they're doing. He is just so valuable."