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Delighted Mallett hails mean Azzurri defence

Italy coach Nick Mallett believes his team's triumph over Scotland was a just reward for the hard work done by his squad in the last six months.

The Azzurri won for the first time in nearly two years in the Six Nations with a 16-12 victory over Scotland in Rome.

The Italians went into the game brimming with confidence after impressing in a 17-12 defeat to England.

"We have improved our defence consistently over the last six months," said Mallett.

"We have given away just one try in our last two games and that's not a bad effort considering who we were facing and the holes Italy had in defence in previous campaigns. I think our November Tests were crucial for the team to improve."

And he could find no negatives in his side's performance, in a game in which the hosts scored a rare try when substitute Pablo Canavosio crossed over in the 67th minute.

"Nothing," he said. "We won."

However, Mallett has warned his players to keep their feet on the ground.

"Just because we have beaten Scotland doesn't mean we think we are better than them," he said.

"We have a lot of respect for Scottish rugby. We are keeping very humble."