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Ireland will face Italy in the third round of this year’s Six Nations in Rome this afternoon.
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Decent performance from Ireland, three tries on one. They still have a lot to improve and have been eliminated from the game on a number of occasions. Even so, it will be a big surprise if they don’t leave Rome with a bonus point win. Expect them to cross the half-century mark.
Garbisi is brilliant at making this Italian attempt and breaking the Irish defense before dumping to Johan Meyer who touches down. Ireland had previously defended the mouth well.
Italy have a free kick in Ireland 22 after winning an earlier penalty when Dave Kilcoyne was sidelined. Italy takes the crush as the clock goes into the red.
Excellent handling by Ronan Kelleher gives Sexton the chance to get the ball straight onto the line. Larmour takes over and his offload gives Connors the opportunity to bring it home. A good attempt. Sexton gets his fifth kick of the day. Yes, Italy are terrible defensively, but Ireland is playing well here.
Gibson Park is taking a break.
Source: Tommy Dickson / INPHO
Sexton adds the conversion – his fourth kick of the day after four tries – and Ireland looks good here.
Beirne wins the lineout, Gibson Park shoots the blindside off the muzzle , Sexton and Larmour make ground on the bottom right and then the ball is recycled, with Ringrose setting up Keenan, who leads an excellent line to scoring.
29 minutes – Italy builds the phases, nine of which except Ireland after good work Force Connors to make a sale. Punishment, Ireland. Pressure released.
It took three minutes for this crowd. You won’t win new fans for the sport with this nonsense.
Ireland wins a scrum penalty and Dave Kilcoyne knows he’ll get a few pints back at the team hotel tonight. Great job from Munster Loosehead.
23 minutes Bisi’s throw is bad, Beirne almost steals it, but the ball goes forward and Italy has a five-meter scrum. Still 13-3 to Ireland.
Penalty to Italy. This is accompanied by a nice phase formation game from Italy with Andrea Lovotti,
Luca Bigi, Sebastian Negri and Johan Meyer all wear well. They decide to take the corner.
So Ireland made two shots on goal in the first quarter and decided to take the opportunity to put the pressure on the scoreboard. They look on a completely different level than Italy. It’s not about whether they win, but how much.
15 minutes After James Lowe’s bad kick, Jamison Gibson-Park takes a good break. Ireland has possession in the Italian half, decent transfers from Connors and Lowe, Henshaw drops to Sexton and Ireland win a penalty.
Gibson-Park picks and leaves. However, he gets into trouble. The lack of support leaves him isolated. Italy wins a penalty.
Persistent pressure and good attempts by Beirne and Stander preceded the ball landing in Ringrose’s hands. He assessed his surroundings, discovered a gap and took advantage of it. Sexton adds the switch and Ireland is up and running.
Delete that fact. Henderson appeared to have touched the ball perfectly – but it wasn’t mentioned above. Ireland meanwhile is on the attack.
7 minutes Ireland force a turnover on the jerk, Ronan Kelleher the one credited for it. They win a penalty and Sexton shoots it into the Italian 22.
4 minute penalty against Ireland, the Italians are offside and Sexton kicks the post
1 minute penalty for Italy. Paolo Garbisi kicks in the corner. Ireland are defending a line-up within their own 22.
Italy enter the field – led by Carlo Canna, who like Henshaw wins his 50th international today.
Robbie Henshaw leads Ireland out with his 50th cap during this one Picture of Johnny Sexton (below) is excellently received.
In sunshine and in the shade: sexton in Rome.
Source: Tommy Dickson / INPHO
Here’s a pre-game reading for you. First, Ciaran Kennedy’s play with Robbie Henshaw, and second, the days when Ireland couldn’t buy a win over Italy in the 1990s.
« Everyone is on the same boat, going in the same direction and wanting the best for each other. » James Lowe spoke to @sineadkissane this week about his top six nations, Ireland’s start, defensive issues and team togetherness. # ITAvIRE #GuinnessSixNations #VMTVRugby pic.twitter.com/1E9eqD0XHW
Andy Farrell has not lost confidence in this Irish site. On the contrary, he made it clear what it takes to convert pressure into points.
« There is quite a lot in our game, but what matters is having a clinical advantage at this level, at the top » , he said. « Our struggle and our will and will to prevail against the opposition has been top notch.
» The ultimate clinical advantage is always the missing ingredient in a team that wants to be world class. That’s why we strive for that and hope that we take a leap in that direction this weekend. «
Ireland’s Jack Conan enjoys the sunshine of Rome.
Source: Tommy Dickson / INPHO
This was an interesting take on the Italian mindset from Ian McKinley, the Dubliner who represented Italy nine times.
« Given Ireland’s results, Italy’s young guns will not be afraid and definitely aim at this game. » Ian McKinley on the mindset in today’s Italian camp. # ITAvIRE #GuinnessSixNations #VMTVRugby pic.twitter.com/72cNvH7VSx
3: You have won the wooden spoon 15 times since you entered the competition in 2000.
4: Numbers 9 to 15 are all Leinster player – the first time in 90 years all of Ireland’s defense has come from the provinces.
Johnny Sexton with referee Mathieu Raynal and Luca Bigi from Italy at the coin toss.
Source: Tommy Dickson / INPHO
This is a big day for Robbie Henshaw, the man from Westmeath who wins his 50th international today.
« I just enjoy playing a number of games », said Henshaw. « The frustration of being fit for the first six Nations games and then ending my campaign prematurely prevented me from reaching the highest level of performance. »
Henshaw in training earlier this week.
Source: Dan Sheridan / INPHO
« Is this the best thing I’ve ever played? I’m not sure. I had some great years first getting on stage. But enjoying it is one big deal to me. Always looking to improve. You never have the perfect game so I’m just trying to keep improving and stay positive. «
The Italian sunshine should improve his mood. It was 17 degrees in Rome yesterday when they were training at the Olympic Stadium.
The 42s rugby correspondent Murray Kinsella previewed and closed the game today. This game in Italy usually gives Ireland a chance to shift up a few gears in attack, especially in sunshine and warm weather. Everything else and worries about this line-up in Ireland will be in abundance.
15. Jacopo Trulla
14. Luca Sperandio
13. Juan Ignacio Brex
12. Carlo Canna
11. Monty Ioane
10. Paolo Garbisi
9. Stephen Varney
1. Andrea Lovotti
2. Luca Bigi (captain)
3. Marco Riccioni
4. Marco Lazzaroni
5. David Sisi
6. Sebastian Negri
7. Johan Meyer
8. Michele Lamaro
16. Gianmarco Lucchesi
17. Cherif Traore
18. Giosue Zilocchi
19. Niccolò Cannone
20. Maxime Mbanda
21. Callum Braley
22. Federico Mori
23. Mattia Bellini
15. Hugo Keenan
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton (captain)
9. Jamison Gibson Park
1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Iain Henderson
5. James Ryan
6. Tadhg Beirne
7. Will Connors
8. CJ Stander
16. Rob Herring
17. Cian Healy
18. Andrew Porter
19. Ryan Baird
20. Jack Conan
21. Craig Casey
22. Billy Burns
23. Keith Earls
Hello and welcome to this afternoon’s live blog. It’s already a must for Andy Farrell. With two losses in the spin, the Irish coach cannot afford a third loss in a row, especially since the Italians have to accept a loss of 29 games in this competition and questions about their future are constantly being asked.
Despite heavy losses to France and England Italy managed to deliver some decent passages each time in the first two games of this championship. Their defense, however, was miserable.
The same goes for attacking Ireland in the first two rounds – two attempts are a poor return for a team that had real title aspirations at the start of this tournament.
Everything starts in less than an hour. So stay with us so we can keep you updated on all the news before the game.
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