Kate Zackary wants USA to go from a ‘highlight reel team to an 80-minute team’ after they were beaten by Italy in WXV 2.

With the Italians needing to win by 25 points to end at the summit, first-half tries from Giordana Duca and Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi helped open up a 12-3 lead at the break.

Sofia Stefan crossed to stretch the advantage before Tahlia Brody went over for USA’s first score of the afternoon on 47 minutes.

Tries from Alyssa D’Inca and Elisa Giordano, along with a Michela Sillari penalty, meant Italy had 17 minutes to find the extra three points they needed but they fell just short, coming closest with five minutes to play as a try was disallowed for obstruction.

USA were unable to back up their opening 36-26 victory over Samoa with skipper Zackary calling on her side to even out their efforts.

“There are so many highlight moments throughout the game,” said Zackary. “It’s how you go from a highlight reel time to an 80-minute team and that’s the biggest takeaway.

“I don’t want to take away from some really great scrums, really great lineouts and we had a couple of opportunities to move the ball out wide, which we didn’t last week against Samoa.

“Those are huge highlight moments of how we can use space better and use the ball to do more work, so it’s about doing that on a consistent basis.

Zackary’s side conceded three tries within the first 22 minutes against Scotland the previous week, with Francesa McGhie, Emma Wassell and Rhona Lloyd piling on the pain.

“The first 20 was good, it was back and forth and that’s what we wanted,” she said.

“We let them in with a soft try but in the second 20, we let them maintain momentum and they kept a lot of possession.

“Defence is hard work and we put in a lot of good shots, but when you lose a bit of momentum, space opens up out wide and their backs have got wheels. If you give them a lot of space, they’ll exploit it and that’s what they did.

“It’s a testament to how their team works but also about how we have to be a bit more disciplined and get around a bit quicker.

“Particularly in the second half, we put ourselves under a lot of pressure in our red zone,” said Zackary. “I don’t think it was anything Scotland were doing, we put the pressure on ourselves.”

USA will hope to end their inaugural WXV campaign on a winning note against Italy on Sunday at the Athlone Sports Stadium.

“We were riding a high off last week, the biggest thing now is to reset, refocus and prepare for the next one,” said Zackary.