Italy captain Sergio Parisse is well aware that his team need to lift their performance when they take on the All Blacks in Rome on Saturday.
Italy kicked off their November Test series with an edgy 28-23 win over a feisty Tonga outfit last weekend, while New Zealand put 50 points past Scotland.
Although Italy coach Jacques Brunel looked for some positives after a game in which several regulars did not appear until the second half, captain Sergio Parisse gave a stark appraisal of the Azzurri's performance.
"It's an important week for us, we'll regroup and train in calm conditions but we can't play like that for 80 minutes against the All Blacks," said Parisse.
It may have been less than perfect preparation ahead of meeting the world champions for a twelfth time, but Treviso flanker Simone Favaro says Italy are relishing the challenge.
"We're challenging the world champions, the team that plays the best rugby and the one all rugby players dream of playing against," said Favaro, an unused replacement against Tonga at the weekend.
"The fact we're playing New Zealand has changed the whole atmosphere in the team, which is great.
"We have a chance to understand the level we're at... playing against the All Blacks is an important test for all of our players."
New Zealand were planning on resting captain Richie McCaw ahead of more testing challenges in upcoming games against Six Nations Grand Slam winners Wales then England, but he could now be a starter if Adam Thomson is banned.
A decision on Thomson, cited for stamping on the head of Scotland loose forward Alasdair Strokosch early in the second half of their win at Murrayfield, is expected Wednesday.
"We're playing against New Zealand as a whole, we really don't care whether he (McCaw) plays or not," said Favaro.
Italy have never come close to beating the All Blacks, but Favaro says the Azzurri won't let past results hamper their game-plan.
"We'll start as underdogs, but we won't turn up believing we're already beat: if we believe that then we risk a heavy defeat," he added.
"Defeats come at the end of matches, never before."