VIDEO: Ireland survive Azzurri scare
SIX NATIONS REPORT: Ireland had to come from behind to beat Italy 26-16 and keep their slim hopes alive.
With just on a half-an-hour to go, the Azzurri was leading 16-12 and looked good for an upset.
However, tries by Keith Earls and Conor Murray saw the Irish record a bonus-point win and stay in the hunt.
“We knew how difficult it was coming to Rome,” said Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony.
“There’s certainly stuff we can do better, but we’ll kick on now and look forward to France in a couple of weeks.
“We were probably trying too hard at times. We just said ‘calm down’.”
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It was the second win for Ireland – after beating Scotland (22-13) and losing their opener to England (32-20) in this year’s Six Nations.
Ireland had looked to be cruising at 12-3 with Roux touching down after 11 minutes.
Chris Farrell had made the initial break towards the line but stopped just short, with Roux taking possession to finish off.
Jonathan Sexton converted with Stockdale getting his team’s second try ten minutes later.
The Ulster wing picked up the ball and raced down the field for his 14th try in 17 Test appearances.
Italy were missing their talismanic skipper Sergio Parisse who shouted support from the sidelines after being ruled out with concussion.
Italy got on the scoreboard after 20 minutes with Allan converting a penalty but Ireland immediately hit back.
Scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi pulled out a towering performance at the heart of the Azzurri playing a role in the tries scores by Padovani (33) and Morisi (39).
Ireland lost Bundee Aki after 12 minutes with the Connacht centre failing a head injury assessment to be replaced by Andrew Conway.
The Italians could have led by an even bigger margin with Allan missing two conversions.
But Ireland shut out the Italians in the second half condemning Conor O’Shea’s side to their 20th consecutive defeat in the tournament going back to 2015.
Man of the match: Maxime Mbanda made 14 tackles in the first half, but was unfortunate to leave the field early in the second half with a knee injury. Azzurri captain Leonardo Ghiraldini had a huge workload, while Tito Tebaldi produced a masterclass as the playmaker at scrumhalf. Keith Earls, Chris Farrell and Jacob Stockdale were the most devastating on attack. However, our award goes to Ireland captain and flank Peter O’Mahony, who made crucial steals in the second half – both on the ground and in the line-outs.
Moment of the match: Right on the half-hour mark Edoardo Padovani scored a try and five minutes later Luca Morisi scored a coast-to-coast try for Italy to take the lead – going into the break 16-12 up. It ensured there was a grandstand finish to the game.
Villain: No villains. Nothing nasty.
Tries: Padovani, Morisi
Pens: Allan 2
Tries: Roux, Stockdale, Earls, Murray
Cons: Sexton, Murray 2
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Federico Ruzza, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 David Sisi, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Castello.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 John Cooney, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Andrew Conway.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)
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