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Aironi progress on the pitch delights Phillips

Guinness PRO12 Editor

17 Apr 2012

Aironi might be facing an uncertain future in the RaboDirect PRO12 but head coach Rowland Phillips insists that whatever happens, the narrow loss to Scarlets shows just how far his side have come.

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) revoked the franchise’s license to compete in the competition last week citing the club’s mounting debts as the primary cause for ending its two-year existence.

And with the news still reverberating around Stadio Luigi Zaffanella, Aironi welcomed Scarlets to Italy, narrowly losing 26-23.

The future of Phillips’ club might not look too rosy, but the Welsh head coach is adamant his players can be proud of how they performed on the pitch.

“There was the opportunity to win against the Scarlets,” he said. “To beat the Scarlets you have to win the physical battle in the forwards.

“We did that for the majority of the match, but there was something extra missing. But I am really happy with the scrum, with Lorenzo Romano playing very well, I’m pleased with the offensive and defensive structure.

“We probably just lacked a little calmness in the decisive moments, especially when we went into their 22 we didn’t have the patience required to take advantage of the chances we created.

“A year ago at the end of a game against the Scarlets we would have conceded more tries, this time we defended well, collected the ball, played quickly and scored ourselves.

“It shows we have grown from the squad that was here last year. In Galway [against Connacht] I’m expecting another step forward to build the mentality away from home that we show every time we play at home.

“It would be a shame to have to stop this work which we only feel is half done.”