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ITALY coach Nick Mallet lamented the growing divide between northern and southern hemisphere rugby sides on Saturday after his team crashed to the Springboks 11-55.
All three European sides - Wales, Ireland and Italy- lost to their opponents New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
"We need to play against sides more our level - Russia, Tonga and Samoa.
"It's a huge mountain to climb to play South Africa two weeks in a row. The Six Nations is tough enough, but to come out here, at this time of the year, well Italian rugby is not developed enough," said Mallet.
Keeping his promise to cut his hair following his team's loss last week, a new-look Mallet believes the Springboks can go into the Tri-Nations this month with greater confidence.
"In the 90s it was really tough to go over to New Zealand and win. Our players were not used to winning, but now they don't fear the opposition at all.
"This new-look confidence shows. You can see it at Super 14 level and at Test level," he added.
But, for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, the challenge of New Zealand and Australia awaits.