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Guerra wants more from high-flying Italy

Matt Encarnacion NRL.com Tue, Nov 05, 2013 - 12:30 PM

Aidan Guerra says his in-form Italy side still needs to improve if they are to continue their undefeated run in the World Cup. Copyright: NRL Photos

Group C leaders Italy hold their World Cup destiny in their own hands heading into their final group game against Tonga, but in-form centre Aidan Guerra has no doubts his team needs to improve.

Following their 30-all draw with Scotland last Monday (AEDT), the World Cup debutants are currently tied with the Bravehearts on three points but occupy top spot with a superior for-and-against.

A win this Monday will guarantee a likely quarter-final against defending champions New Zealand.

"You're always looking to go on. We didn't come here to bow out early. Our focus is to make the quarters, and we're one good performance away from it," Guerra said after the game.

Tonga (zero points) still have a game in hand against the Cook Islands tomorrow, while Scotland will have had just three days rest before their final group game against World Cup surprises USA on Thursday.

Should both teams lose, the Azzurri will be one of the final eight teams standing. But a win to either of them would mean Monday's clash turns into a must-win game.

Nevertheless, no matter the outcome of either game, Guerra insists his side needs to start better than they did against Scotland, when they conceded an early 12-0 lead.

"There's something we need to address there. We need to start a little bit better in both halves," he said.

"We come out lackadaisical in the first half, away from the game plan. [We] couldn't quite put it together and then when it came to pressure time, we pulled it together. But we need to do that for the full 80 [minutes], not just periods of time."

Guerra, who was one of the most improved players in the NRL in 2013, has carried his outstanding form to the northern hemisphere, registering two tries, two try assists, two line break assists 12 tackle breaks and 221 metres over two games.

While the premiership-winning Rooster continues to impress against the opposition, he hasn't been quite as enamoured with the cold conditions.

"It's freezing. If I could've played in gloves, I would've. My fingers are freezing – they're icicles," he said. "But the crowd [at Derwent Park] was unbelievable. There's not many here, but they made a bit of noise and it really made us feel that we were part of a World Cup game."