The defending champions trailed 16-12 at half-time in Rome after a rampant Italy side responded to Quinn Roux and Jacob Stockdale tries with scores from Edoardo Padovani and Luca Morisi.
The 2018 Grand Slam winners are three points behind leaders Wales with two matches remaining, but head coach Schmidt warned they must showed a marked improvement.
“The bottom line is you want the win and the bonus point. So we’ve got the five points and we’ll go home happy with the points haul but certainly not with the performance.” said the New Zealander.
“Italy put a lot of pressure on, they made the ruck very tough for Conor and on the back of that when they got opportunities they broke very quickly and put us under pressure. We’ve got to be more accurate than that.”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 24, 2019
Stand-in captain Peter O’Mahony echoed Schmidt’s sentiments.
“We knew how difficult it is to come to Rome. It’s an incredibly physical battle and they are a super rugby team. They put us under the pump and we expected that.” he told ITV Sport.
“There is certainly stuff we can do better, and I know a lot is expected of us, but five points away from home is good because it is difficult to win on the road in the Six Nations.
“We needed a bit more accuracy in the second half and we were forcing a few things, so we had to revert to our game plan and get through some phases. We need to improve on some of the good stuff and the things we need to get better at.”
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