Italy have once again finished a Six Nations campaign without a win after conspiring to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at home to France this afternoon.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Conor O'Shea and his side, who performed well throughout but butchered several chances on the French try-line. It finished 25-14.
Italy's Six Nations record is at odds with their improving domestic game. This season there has been a marked difference in Treviso and Zebre's performance while at underage level form IRFU coach Stephen Aboud's work is reaping benefits as last year Italy U20s had their highest ever finish at the World Junior Championships, the U18s beat England for the first time ever and their U17s beat France.
Speaking post-match, a disappointed Conor O'Shea maintained that Italy are moving in the right direction.
"I'll be judged on results. I don't really care what people do and say about this Italian project, we are going in the right direction. Today was a chance and we didn't take it."
While there has been a marked improvement in Italy's performances in recent years, consistent positive results have yet to follow. They head into the World Cup later this year facing into a tough group containing New Zealand and South Africa, in what is set to be Sergio Parisse's final swan song in the Italian jersey.
As for O'Shea, he is surely hoping that the success at club level will transfer itself onto the international stage sooner rather than later.