Ireland rattle Italy at Aviva

Ebony Scott
February 12, 2018

Italy captain Sergio Parisse is well placed to compare the two leading contenders for the Natwest 6 Nations - Ireland and England.

Saturday evening plays host the pick of the Round 2 clashes of one of rugby's fiercest rivalries is reignited under the evening skies of Twickenham Stadium as reigning Six Nations champions England welcome Wales across the border, with both clubs seeking back-to-back wins. Ireland eased to a 63-10 win over the Italians in Rome previous year.

However, the Irish conceded three tries in the second half in Dublin as former Ireland back Conor O'Shea's side battled back in.

The changes are all in the pack, with Luca Bigi is in for Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker, Nicola Quaglio at loosehead replacing Andrea Lovotti and Braam Steyn at openside in for Renato Giammarioli.

"Tadhg is okay, It was precautionary, he was tight in the hamstring, he hadn't any problems during the week so we're hopeful that won't be anything that gets in the way of him potentially training a bit by Thursday next week and then getting into a full week of preparation the following week for Wales".

The Italians were left shell-shocked when Bundee Aki crashed over to mark the 27-year-old New Zealand-born centre's first try for his adopted country leaving the Irish just one try short of their bonus point aim with only 20 minutes gone.

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Sexton's fourth goal made it 28-0 at the break and effectively finished the match as a serious contest as well as securing the bonus-point.

Henshaw added his second try early in the second-half but landed in obvious agony on his shoulder, his leg beating against the ground through pain.

Joe Schmidt believes Ireland are "in a good place" after the Aviva Stadium stroll past Italy, even taking the positives from the ragged edges that allowed the visitors in for three tries.

Italy did get on the scoresheet following a further Rory Best effort for Ireland, but Tommasso Allan's score in the 56th minute and replacement Edoardo Gori's try were consolations in proceedings.

IRELAND demolished Italy thanks to irresistible Johnny Sexton and double tries from Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale.

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