Six Nations: Ireland labour to 26-16 bonus-point victory over Italy

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Highlights: Ireland war to bonus-level victory over Italy
Six Nations: Italy v Ireland
Italy: (16) 16
Tries: Padovani, Morisi Pens: Allan 2
Ireland: (12) 26
Tries: Roux, Stockdale, Earls, Murray Cons: Sexton, Murray 2

Ireland’s defence of their Six Nations crown remains alive however very most attention-grabbing correct after a laboured bonus-level steal over Italy.

Quinn Roux, Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls and Conor Murray scored the tries as the champions held on for victory.

Italy led at half-time with tries from Edoardo Padovani and Luca Morisi however were unable to rep after the damage.

Replacement Ian McKinley uncared for a stoppage-time penalty as Italy couldn’t even salvage the shedding bonus level their efforts deserved.

The steal sends Ireland as a lot as third house in the championship desk however Joe Schmidt’s aspect will now desire a huge slash of good fortune to retain their title.

Italy’s lumber of Six Nations defeats stretches to 20 however head coach Conor O’Shea will rob encouragement from a improbable first-half display cloak that left Ireland rattled at the damage.

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Title defence in jeopardy

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Joe Schmidt ‘frustrated’ with lack of rhythm from Ireland

Ireland flit-half Johnny Sexton stalked off the discipline in the loss of life minutes and swung a kick at a water bottle on a frustrating evening for the holders.

Wanting to steal by a neat margin to resolve on their title credentials, Ireland went wanting for tries from the off however were in a roundabout design undone by their possess handling and line-out inaccuracies.

Italy threatened to supply a vital scare as they came charging lend a hand from 3-12 at the lend a hand of to manual 16-12 at the damage, however the tries by Earls and Murray as a minimal insured the Big Slam champions dwell in rivals with two rounds final.

Assured initiate by Ireland

A composed initiate by Ireland and a few black discipline by the dwelling aspect produced an early try for the guests as the game started along predicted lines.

Sexton saved the hosts pinned within their possess half with a series of booming touch-discovering kicks and the stress in the slay produced a try in the 12th minute.

The Irish assault gradually retained possession and forced their formula as a lot as the Italy posts earlier than Roux muscled over for his first Six Nations try.

A jinking damage by Earls almost delivered one other try for alternative Andrew Conway correct moments later earlier than Tommaso Allan kicked Italy’s first aspects.

From the restart, Ireland pushed further clear when Michele Campagnaro fumbled and Stockdale pounced with out hesitation and flashed over for a lightning-fleet rep.

Tebaldi takes price

By some means Morisi managed to salvage the ball down despite two final-ditch tackles

Italy could additionally fair were with out their captain Sergio Parisse however the returning Tito Tebaldi deputised as his aspect’s well-known driver and helped to struggle away momentum from the guests.

The Benetton scrum-half, who had almost scrambled over for a try earlier than Allan’s first penalty, took a fleet tap-and-lumber that greatly surprised the Irish defence and dashed upfield earlier than chipping over the advancing Possess Kearney correct for Jordi Murphy to rescue Ireland at the foot of his possess posts.

Undaunted, Italy came again and when Ireland misplaced a line-out of their possess half the hosts raided down the left through corpulent-lend a hand Jayden Hayward earlier than a luscious skip cross by Allan despatched Padovani over for a improbable rep.

The crowd were now in corpulent voice and they were rewarded correct earlier than half-time when Tebaldi plucked the ball from Conor Murray’s take and powered into Irish territory.

The guests desperately retreated to protect however Chris Farrell couldn’t pause Morisi from barrelling over for a exquisite rep that despatched the hosts into the dressing room with a four-level lead.

Murray rescues the day

Murray powered over to proper the bonus-level try

Sexton couldn’t salvage his kick-off to fling 10 metres at the initiate of the second half as the anticipated Irish battle lend a hand started with a whimper.

Hooker Sean Cronin used to be brought off quickly afterwards when one other of his line-out throws went off beam as the guests’ frustration continued to impress.

One more relentless multi-section assault used to be in the slay rewarded when Earls noticed a mismatch and danced internal Dean Budd and Tebaldi to ranking Ireland’s lead with Murray taking on the house-kicking duties to slot the conversion.

Earls almost carve through for one other rep on the hour when a trademark space-share assault despatched the Munster flit through a slim gap however he couldn’t obtain the supporting Stockdale with his offload.

As an alternate, Murray took the accountability for the bonus-level try as the scrum-half cajoled his pack forwards in a extremely effective maul earlier than scooping up the ball and dotting down for the try.

The champions restful had 14 minutes final to study out and dash aspects however as an alternate it used to be Italy who came closest to scoring again correct for Federico Ruzza to concede a penalty while camped on the Irish tryline.

Man of the match – Peter O’Mahony

In his first Six Nations match as Ireland captain, Peter O’Mahony led by instance when his aspect were in hazard of a vital upset

Having received the first turnover for his crew in the outlet minutes the Ireland skipper came up with one other vital resolve as Italy threatened to ranking the lead at some level of the second half. He could additionally fair never be the largest tackler or fastest in the loose however he constantly comes up with sizable plays at sizable moments.

‘We needed to salvage lend a hand to basics’ – what they said

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: “The backside line is the steal and the bonus level. We will lumber dwelling overjoyed with the aspects haul however now not the performance. Credit to Italy, they made it very famous at the ruck dwelling and build us below stress.

“Our performance used to be summed up in the final play, where Jacob Stockdale does brilliantly to salvage out of our half however then we are one cross from scoring and it goes to ground. We must be extra factual than that.”

Ireland skipper Peter O’Mahony: “At half-time we spoke about how we wished to impress the ball stick a chunk extra, a chunk bit extra accuracy. We were nearly attempting too laborious at cases and forcing issues so we correct needed to head lend a hand to the issues that work so properly for us and salvage lend a hand to basics a chunk.”

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea: “We talked about attempting to play with ambition and depth which we did, however we proficient Stockdale a try. We misplaced avid gamers and had second rows playing in the lend a hand row. We must create a consistency to salvage to where we need however with a little bit luck folks will peek right here’s now not an Italy aspect that is going to roll over.

Dilapidated Ireland flanker Chris Henry on BBC Radio Ulster: “We all know with the quality of avid gamers Ireland like, they may per chance like to restful like had a extra convincing steal. Johnny Sexton used to be frustrated with his performance and Italy could like to restful be comfortable with their performance. There is lots to work on earlier than what’s a huge game now against France.”


Italy: Hayward, Padovani; Campagnaro, Morisi, Esposito; Allan, Tebaldi; Lovotti, Ghiraldini (capt), Ferrari, Ruzza, Budd, Tuivaiti, Mbanda, Steyn

Replacements: Bigi, Traore (for Lovotti, 60), Pasquali (for Ferrari, 51), Sisi (for Tuivati, 51), Zanni (for Mbanda, 43), Palazzani, McKinley (for Allan, 73), Castello (for Campagnaro, 72).

Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Farrell, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Kilcoyne, Cronin, Furlong, Dillane, Roux, O’Mahony (capt), O’Brien, Murphy

Replacements: Scannell (for Cronin, 47), McGrath (for Kilcoyne, 62), Ryan (for Furlong, 62), Henderson (for Roux, 57), Van der Flier (for O’Brien, 57), Cooney (for Murray, 70), Carty (for Sexton, 77), Conway (for Aki, 12).

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

Contact judges: Wayne Barnes (England) & Karl Dickson (England)

TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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