Crowley's Candid Reflection: Lessons learned from All Blacks clash

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Italy still had a chance in the World Cup while many others didn't, and it was about maximising their effort while preparing to pressure France in their final pool game.

But the All Blacks had exposed the shortcomings of a rebuilding Italian team.

Crowley said, "I haven't hidden the fact that this World Cup is too early for them. They've come a hell of a long way. When you go through adversity, you learn from adversity, and you know, when you go back to last week's game [against Uruguay], we were down at the beginning of the second half, and I don't think we would have [recovered to win] done that 10 months ago.

"As far as this game today, that is one of the best teams in the world and yes they dominated us in some areas and we'll learn from that. We've got some inexperienced players in there who've been in front of some of the best players in the world."

The All Blacks had dominated them at the breakdown. They had been too good, while Italy were not good enough.

"They were pretty outstanding tonight in their carrying and their cleanout work.

"We gave up those three tries in five minutes that put us on the back foot, and it was all gone from there. We've got to pick up the pieces, which we will. It was just not a very good day at the office.

"There was nothing new around that. We were trying to do the same to them; that's the physical aspect of the game of rugby, but they were just too good at it.

"We got a couple of good periods of play in that first half, got to phase four or five, and turned the ball over. They were just too good at the breakdown.

"They'll be pleased with that performance; that was a statement for them.

"We are not worried about them, we are worried about us, we'll pick ourselves back up."

Italy would learn from the experience. They would stick together and go through the recovery process. It was a bad game for them, but one game didn't make a bad team; they just needed to improve.


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