In their Rugby World Cup Pool A opener against Namibia on Saturday in Saint-Etienne, Italy easily defeated them by a score of 52-8, seven tries plus bonus points.
Star wing Ange Capuozzo was amongst the try scorers, with Lorenzo Cannone, Paolo Garbisi, Dino Lamb, Epalahame Faiva, Manuel Zuliani and Paolo Odogwu also dotting down, while Gerswin Mouton replied for Namibia.
Full-back Tommaso Allan contributed 17 points with the boot in a faultless display.
It was a 23rd straight defeat in as many World Cup matches for the African side.
Coming away with a maximum five-point haul was crucial for Italy, with clashes against pool heavyweights France and New Zealand to come.
Kieran Crowley’s team is looking to make the knock-out stages for the first time and the New Zealander said they will have to improve to stand any chance of making it to the quarter-finals.
“If you’d given me 50 points before the game I would have grabbed them, but we turned over about 22 balls and you can’t afford to do that,” said Crowley.
“But it was pretty hot out there and the boys are pretty gassed, so we’ll take it and we’ll move on.”
Namibia’s South African coach Allister Coetzee said he was “really proud of the boys” despite failing to end their wait for a first World Cup win.
“They never gave up. They hung in there,” said Coetzee.
“We struggled at stopping their lineout maul and also at scrum time. They are a good side.
“Towards the end it ballooned out a bit, but that is the difference in the conditioning when you come up against a Tier One country.”