Former Ireland international Alison Miller thinks Ireland can beat Italy in Sunday's World Cup qualifier but warns that big improvements in many areas will be needed.

Ireland were stunned by Spain in their first group game on Monday and another defeat in Parma could spell the end of their chances of making it to New Zealand

"It all depends how they bounce back mentally," the 2013 Grand Slam winner told 2fm's Game On.

"They would have gone into this tournament as favourites, they beat Italy well enough in the Six Nations, but Italy put in a really good performance against Scotland (a 38-13 win) so it's going to be a tight game.

"Italy are a very good side. They have a lot of experience. Their fitness has really improved over the last while.

"During the Six Nations they didn’t kick at all but against Scotland they varied their game so Ireland’s defence needs to be really on point.

"Ireland can win, it’s just how they bounce back and fix all those errors that they showed the other night.

Ireland will be back at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi stadium in Parma this weekend

What do Adam Griggs' side need to do differently?

"The lineout malfunctioned a lot," said Miller. That needs to be tidied up. The scrum was under pressure as well. If you don’t have good set-pieces you won’t be able to launch anything from them.

"We need to improve our breakdown accuracy. We got turned over a lot.

"We got good change of going wide early with the Parsons try but then Spain figured that out. So they probably need to vary game plan a bit better.

"The line speed wasn’t where it should have been. There was a lack of leadership in the team. Claire Molloy wasn't even on the bench.

"They need to fix all these things and get their speedsters involved, for Beibhinn Parsons and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe to come in off their wings if they’re not getting the ball."

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