Player Ratings: Italy
Italy player ratings: Ireland may have made six changes but if you turn up in Dublin without your two best ball carriers and with replacements who lack the same impact then an upset is not on the cards.
Italy were just too lightweight up front, particularly in the second row and paid the penalty in the scrum where their impressive props went back wards too often because the men behind them were unable to counter the power coming from the Irish engine room.
Having a test class mid-field is a comfort for Italy but they have to spend too much time defending when the pack is being put under pressure which is a shame as Juan Ignacio Brex and Tommaso Menoncello were able to build on their growing reputations. The return of Ange Capuozzo at full back from a spark if excitement and Monty Ioane can make an impact but it all came down the forward effort and that was second rate on the day as they failed to score a single point.
15. Ange Capuozzo – 6
Early rustiness quickly disappeared although he was left grasping at air for the first Irish try. An awful kick pass was another indication that he needs game time but he got better and was always willing to run the ball back.
14. Lorenzo Pani – 4
He doesn’t give the impression he is the kind of wing to burn you with pace or clever footwork. A poor early tackle was erased by a good turnover and a clever defensive read which got his team out of trouble in the first half as Ireland turned up the heat.
13. Juan Ignacio Brex – 7
Great leg drive after the tackle makes him a difficult opponent to stop on the gain line and this was another example of why the Azzurri can build an effective back line around the hard-running centre who had good hands and a big heart.
12. Tommaso Menoncello – 6
Forms a great double act with Brex and has boundless energy which is needed when you have to defend as much as Italy. Made a crucial tackle on Robbie Henshaw when teammates were missing their tackles and then led a great counter ruck to win the ball. The yellow card for a trip was not his finest moment.
11. Monty Ioane – 6
Likes to go looking for work and is a solid defender able to use his pace to halt Irish raids while looking to get his team on the front foot. Should try to take his physical impact more into mid-field where he could be very effective.
10. Paolo Garbisi – 5
A mixed bag from the outside half with a couple of poor kicks and one big tackle he had to absorb by the impressive Joe McCarthy. Stopped Lowe on the Italy try line with a well-timed tackle that dislodged the ball.
9. Stephen Varney – 5
Charge down kicks undermined his performance and tried to fly out of the defensive line like Faf de Klerk but not his best game and he was not helped by the diminishing returns from his pack. Made an outstanding try-saving tackle on Sheehan.
1. Danilo Fischetti – 6
Busy in defence and combative in the rucks to enhance his reputation which was not hurt by a couple of poor scrums due to the lack of power coming to support him from the second row. Good all-around prop who is going to be important for Italy.
2. Gianmarco Lucchesi – 3
Given that Ireland opted not to compete very often the fact his line outthrowing was so awful is very disappointing. He was busy in the loose but when your bread and butter work is so lamentable it hardly makes up for it.
3. Pietro Ceccarelli – 6
Like his prop mate this is a forward who does not shirk work although his scrum effectiveness did wane against an opponent who was having a great day in this key area. Has a good engine for a big man and will get better, particularly with a better second row behind him
4. Niccolo Cannone – 3
Not exactly sure what this player brings to the team as he doesn’t ball carry with any effect and his scrum work is substandard given his props are capable of holding their own but cannot do it without some test class support coming through from lock.
5. Federico Ruzza – 4
Won a couple of lineouts and had a romp in the second half which ended with a rib-tickling hit that left him sore and unable to offer any more physical help. Like Cannone, he lacks the physical size to be a truly effective lock at this level.
6. Alessandro Izekor – 4
Had big boots to fill and apart from the odd lineout win and tackle, he was not able to give his side the go-forward they needed and does not appear to have the sort of impact that would make him a regular pick.
7. Manuel Zuliani – 6
Up against a much better back row and while he kept battling it was in a losing cause that he could not influence to any great degree. Will have learnt a lot from the experience against a good Irish unit.
8. Michele Lamaro – 6
Tough for him to lead an Italy team lacking their big ball carriers and while he provided much-needed experience it was tough for him to change the momentum as his team was ill-equipped to handle the mauling and scrum power of the Irish.
16. Giacomo Nicotera – 5
Well the throwing couldn’t have got much worse so he was onto a winner.
17. Mirco Spagnolo- 5
Tried to bring some much-needed physicality to the equation and handled himself well.
18. Giosue Zilocchi – 5
Like the rest of the replacement front row he couldn’t make a significant impact on a very good Irish eight.
19. Andrea Zambonin – 4
Another long-limbed lock who doesn’t really have the equipment to impact a game.
20. Ross Vintcent – 4
Debut for the Exeter man but not much time to show his worth.
21. Martin Page-Relo – 5
Tried to get things going but has trouble evading the Irish chasers.
22. Tommaso Allan n/a
23. Federico Mori – 4
Not much he could do except join the defensive action.