|Eire (24) 50|
|Tries: Stander, Keenan 2, Connors, Sexton, Aki, Heffernan Cons: Sexton 5, Byrne Pen: Sexton|
|Italy (3) 17|
|Attempt: Padovani, Garbisi Con: Garbisi 2 Pen: Garbisi|
Debutants Hugo Keenan and Will Connors had been amongst Eire’s strive scorers in a cushty bonus-point win over Italy because the Six Nations returned seven months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wing Keenan crossed twice within the first half after CJ Stander darted over in reply to Paolo Garbisi’s early penalty.
Edoardo Padovani picked off Johnny Sexton’s move to supply some temporary pleasure for Italy however additional tries from Connors, Sexton, Bundee Aki and Dave Heffernan secured a dominant win.
Garbisi, the 20-year-old fly-half, grabbed a beautiful solo strive within the remaining play to place a dent in Eire’s rating distinction, which might come into play subsequent week.
Having simply secured the utmost 5 factors, Eire will journey to Paris figuring out a bonus-point win towards France will guarantee they develop into Six Nations champions.
Italy now should gear up for the daunting prospect of England at Twickenham, however are actually assured to complete backside of the desk for the fifth yr in a row.
Dream debuts for Leinster duo
Though the win comes with the caveat that they had been up towards an Italy facet now winless of their final 25 Six Nations video games, Eire’s victory and efficiency vindicated head coach Andy Farrell’s most notable workforce choice calls.
Leinster’s Keenan and Connors, alongside Caelan Doris on his second cap, picked up the place they left off for his or her province with energetic confidence and expression on present all through.
After the early setback of Conor Murray’s sin-binning for intentionally not releasing within the sort out on his personal try-line after Jake Polledri had burst via the midfield, Eire rapidly settled to say their dominance within the bodily battle.
The primary of 9 first half turnovers set the platform for the hosts to place stress on the Italy line permitting Stander to snipe over.
From there the momentum was firmly in Eire’s favour. It took Connors 21 minutes to win his first worldwide turnover and eight minutes later his excellent counter-ruck supplied the penalty from which Eire went huge permitting Keenan to step inside and rating.
For all he has impressed within the blue of Leinster, Keenan didn’t cross the tryline in his breakthrough season, a feat he truly achieved thrice in his first Eire outing.
The Dubliner thought he was in for his second after ending a scintillating break from Jacob Stockdale, however play was pulled again for an earlier Irish infringement within the build-up.
Keenan didn’t have to attend for much longer nonetheless, as Doris brilliantly stole the ball beneath his personal posts setting off a speedy Irish counter-attack that noticed Keenan floor Murray’s grubber kick to place Eire 24-3 up on the break.
Title-chasing hosts rack up factors in second half
The win strikes Eire to the highest of the desk on 14 factors, one forward of England and France going into the ultimate spherical of fixtures.
Among the many multitude of potential outcomes subsequent week are that two groups might end on the identical variety of factors, at which stage the facet with the better factors distinction could be awarded the title.
For that reason Eire attacked the second half with objective, however contributed to Italy’s mini-revival as Padovani ran onto Sexton’s move to walk between the posts.
The strive did little to place Eire off their stride nonetheless, and 6 minutes later Connors drove over behind a rolling maul to safe the bonus-point.
Sexton made amends for the interception by crashing over for a rating of his personal earlier than Aki collected a beautiful Peter O’Mahony offload because the hosts lower free towards a tiring Italian defence.
Hooker Heffernan, on his first look in three years, drove over in what might have been the ultimate play of the sport however Ross Byrne opted to take a fast conversion as Eire went looking for a remaining rating.
The ploy in the end backfired as Italy’s debutant Garbisi scythed via a damaged subject so as to add the final of the factors, in a rating that Eire will hope doesn’t come again to hang-out them subsequent week.
Eire: Stockdale; Conway; Ringrose, Aki Keenan; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Herring, Porter; Beirne, Ryan; Doris, Connors, Stander.
Replacements: Heffernan, E Byrne, Bealham, Dillane, O’Mahony, Gibson-Park, R Byrne, Henshaw.
Italy: Hayward; Padovani, Morisi, Canna, Bellini, Garbisi, Violi; Fischetti, Bigi, Zilocchi, Lazzaroni, Cannone, Negri, Steyn, Polledri.
Replacements: Lucchesi, Ferrari, Ceccarelli, Sisi, Meyer, Mbanda, Braley, Mori.