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Ireland back at the top of the Six Nations table

MATCH REPORT: Ireland is back at the top of the Six Nations table after their 36-0 victory over Italy in the Second Round of the competition at Landsdowne Road on Sunday.

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It was a very good day at the office for Ireland.

Italy had an opportunity to open the scoring in the first few minutes of the game but the penalty kick went awry.

They would not get much more chances in the rest of the game as Ireland completely dominated all aspects of the game.

Ireland’s first try started with a lovely surge from Hugo Keenan to drive Ireland into Italian territory, well worked and well executed as Jack Crowley got his first international try for Ireland.

He couldn’t convert as it drifted wide due to the breeze causing a few problems in Dublin.

Italy managed to stand up to the physical efforts of Ireland early on, opting to kick for the corner. They had a line-out eight metres out but the Ireland defence stood strong, working their way steadily back into the Azzuri half of the field.

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Ireland got in for their second just 20 minutes into the game through excellent interplay and handling, Dan Sheehan getting his second try in two matches in the green jersey.

Crowley was involved again as he found Henshaw, who fed Stuart McCloskey, and the big centre, in turn, found Sheehan.

Crowley was spot on with the conversion, taking the Irish to a 12-0 lead.

Ten minutes later it was try-time again as Ireland’s Jack Conan got over the whitewash. There was a maul that worked but Sheehan was brought down. The big lad Conan burrowed over the line.

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Half-time saw the home side leading by 19-0.

Ireland would not have been completely happy about the first half, they weren’t running like a well-oiled machine yet but three tries in the first was nothing to frown about.

As the clock struck 50 minutes, Sheehan got his second and Ireland’s bonus point try, again bulldozing his way through the Italian defensive line.

At this stage Italy was a punching bag, taking the hits from all angles on the field. The Irish machine had clicked into gear and was in poll position.

They almost got their fifth try after 23 phases, and to their credit Italy’s defense was commendable, but there was a double movement by Robbie Henshaw.

And then Italy lost Tommaso Menoncello who was sent to the sin-bin for tripping wing James Lowe, something Italy could ill afford.

Lowe scored the fifth try, showing pace and a nose for the try line, going wide and swerving in, and somehow managed to reach the line with a bunch of Italians on his back.

Crowley did not have his kicking boot on, missing three of the five conversions he aimed at.

With twelve minutes left on the clock, Italy was back to their full contingent with Menoncello back on the field.

Credit to Ireland who never stopped playing, scoring their sixth try three minutes before full-time, this time it was Calvin Nash who got the spoils and Harry Byrne converted.

Despite the sands of time having run out, Ireland still went for the corner in the 82nd minute, resulting in Jamison Gibson-Park almost getting the seventh try, but it was short.

Ireland were excellent but Italy were very poor and offered next to nothing in an error-strewn performance. Wales will give them a much tougher test in a fortnight’s time.

Man of the Match: Jack Lowe is just the complete package as a back three-player. He has pace, power, and a nose for the line. He not only scored one of the tries, but his overall support play was also immense.

Scorers:

For Ireland:
Tries: Crowley, Sheehan 2, Conan, Lowe, Nash, Gibson-Park
Cons: Crowley 2, Byrne

Yellow card: Tommaso Menoncello (Italy – 57’ for foul play)

Teams

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Caelan Doris, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 James Ryan, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Jordan Larmour.

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Lorenzo Pani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Michele Lamaro (captain), 7 Manuel Zuliani, 6 Alessandro Izekor, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Martin Page-Relo, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Luc Ramos (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

 

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