Zebre coach Gianluca Guidi was proud of his charges after they lost narrowly to Bayonne in a pre-season friendly at the Stade Jean Dauger.
Romain Martial and Evrard Oulai Dion both crossed for Bayonne early on before a penalty try made it 21-0, with Willie Du Plessis on-song from the tee.
Yet Maxime Mbanda and Carlo Canna responded for the Guinness PRO12 side, who also qualified for the Champions Cup last season.
Jean-Blaise Lespinasse grabbed a double either side of a Dario Chistolini try before Andrea De Marchi ensured Guidi’s men finished on a high.
Guidi was proud of the way his side fought back against Top 14 opposition, insisting they would continue to work hard ahead of their pre-season clash with Munster on August 19, praising academy prospect Federico Ruzza and second-row partner, Gideon Koegelenberg.
“I saw a good attitude from Zebre. There were positive signs which are important at this time of the season, especially against a team who are much more advanced in their fitness preparation,” he explained.
“I’m pleased with lots of the players: the two youngsters in the second row did well, like the back row where Derick Minnie showed immediately that he is an important player.
“Also the experiment with Canna and Padovani together on the pitch pleased me with both running the game when Carlo was at full-back.
“Now we will continue to work hard and recover injured players ahead of the Munster game.”