To my mind, the most important thing RL could learn is to not give up on things too soon at international level (and every other level, I guess).
For most of the last decade, Italy were lucky to get a win a season, but they have gradually become a force to be reckoned with - wins over both France and Ireland, unlucky not to get a draw in England. Teams used to put out their second string against them, but now they have to put out a full-strength side or lose. They've also gone from struggling to fill a 20k ground to playing in the second largest in the tournament (not filling it yet, but it won't be long).
Their side used to be full of journeymen foreigners (as their RL side will likely be in the World Cup), but now their side is predominantly 'proper' Italian, with players like Sergio Parisse being amongst the best in the world.
If it was RL, there would have been calls to scrap the whole tournament after the first season Italy joined as it was a farce and an embarassment to the game, and they would never have a chance of competing with the top sides, so why bother playing them?
A city break for the richer union fans in Rome. As I recall it RU was lucky at the time in that tbe six nations started well before austerity and belt tightening. The crowds in Italy were initially massively swelled by away fans