Conor O'Shea wants Italy to be a "more competitive and irritating team"

The Italian head coach was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Conor O'Shea wants Italy to be a "more competitive and irritating team"

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Conor O'Shea was equally praised and castigated last weekend for Italy's tactics against England in the Six Nations.

The Azzurri regularly failed to create a ruck when defending, negating the use of an offside line, and confusing the English team, most notably captain Dylan Hartley and James Haskell.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday morning, O'Shea told Alan Quinlan that despite the tactics used, he felt Italy's performance was under-appreciated.

"We wanted to put something out on the pitch that was different to give us a chance", O'Shea admitted. "Everything was a above board and it just asked a different question. We rolled the dice and said we would do it for 80 minutes. What got lost was that we played some good rugby."

A win in Autumn against South Africa is Italy's most famous win of O'Shea's short era, but they have yet to win in this year's Six Nations.

"We want to become a more competitive and irritating team. That's the Italian sides that [Ireland] played in the 1990s. A really hard side to play against."

"I know there are really good players in Italy... These are really good guys. They are very, very hungry, but they dont get the support they should. We have to professionalise rugby."

Despite a testing few weeks, O'Shea told Newstalk Breakfast that he's enjoying his time in Italy.

"It's fun watching these guys. I enjoyed last Sunday in Twickenham. We did something different. If we are different and change, we can achieve things."

The former Ireland full-back is confident of the team's future, despite their heavy loss to Ireland last month. He is looking forward to improving the structures in Treviso and Zebre, which will eventually help the national team, calling it the "biggest key", towards success.

"We can effect some change at national level, but it has to be throughout the system. There is a real will to do it. Things don't happen overnight. Slowly but surely, you will see things start to develop... There is some good young players coming through, but there's good players too for the here and now. It's a big job, but it's a fun job."

Italy's next Six Nations game is at home to France on March 11th.