Italy captain Nathan Brown has detailed the agonising aftermath his squad has faced following their opening two Rugby League World Cup fixtures at Kingston Park in Newcastle.
The Azzurri have managed an even record from their two Group B games so far in the competition, amassing a win over Scotland in their opening affair before suffering a 60-4 defeat at the hands of Fiji last week.
Both matches have been played in England's northeast at Kingston Park, which is surfaced with synthetic grass.
The nature of the pitch left up to a dozen Italian players requiring hospital treatment amidst their World Cup campaign, with players suffering grazes and subsequent infections following their opening match due to the synthetic surface.
Speaking to News Corp, Brown revealed he "couldn't walk" because of the wounds, requiring medical assistance before stepping back onto Kingston Park for his nation's second match of the tournament.
“I didn't really feel it after the game until the following day,” Browne detailed.
“I couldn't walk to be honest. For five days it was a bit of a weird situation. I went to the hospital here and got on antibiotics.
“It was pretty annoying. Then I had to play on it again last week. I was limping around. I couldn't really bend my knee because it was right on my knee.
“Everything was swollen and tightened up.”
A 1-1 record and an incoming clash against group leaders Australia has Italy facing what will likely be their third straight World Cup group stage exit, with the two nations to go head-to-head on Sunday morning (AEDT).
While the match won't be played on a synthetic field, instead at Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, Brown is well aware of the challenge ahead of Italy to keep their World Cup campaign alive.
“Best in the world – we have the mentality of doing the jersey proud, playing for 80 minutes, playing for each other and see what happens,” he said.
“We just want everyone to have a crack. You don't go into any game wanting to lose. We just want to have a crack and have a go for each other.”
Italy are currently tied with Fiji with one win and one loss for the tournament so far, with the latter set to face Scotland in hope of booking themselves a place in the quarter-finals.
The runner-up for Group B will face the winner of Group C, New Zealand, in the next round.