Ireland hit the half-century as the Six Nations makes its return

Ireland 50

Italy 17

Ireland have gone to the top of the Six Nations table after a thumping victory over a ferocious Italian side. Andy Farrell’s men ran in an impressive tally of seven tries at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was indeed the Italian’s  who had the best start as Pablo Garbisi got the game’s first score from a penalty which sailed between the posts. This would be their only score for some time however as Ireland showed their class and ruthlessness in attack.

CJ Stander got the game’s first try with Johnny Sexton firing over the conversion. Sexton was Ireland’s top scorer on the day with a massive 18 points as he increased Ireland’s lead with a penalty.

Hugo Keenan who was making his Irish debut was one of Ireland’s best players on the day and he ran in two tries back to back with Sexton converting Keenan’s two tries. This took the game to the half-time interval as Ireland led by 24 points to 3 and looking good for the victory.

Italy once again made a quick start to the half just like the first as they ran in a try courtesy of Edoardo Padovani with Garbisi splitting the posts with the conversion. Ireland however would not relinquish their lead as they got the pistons firing again in attack.

Another debutant Will Connors got his first international try with Sexton once again proving accurate with his boot to score the conversion. Sexton got in for a try of his own soon after but was unable to point the conversion this time around. 

Bundee Aki got Ireland’s sixth try of the game before substitute Dave Heffernan also got in for a try. Sexton converted the Aki try before being replaced by Dave Byrne who converted Heffernan’s try.

The Italian’s had a late burst of scores as Garbisi scored seven points with a try of his own and a conversion to match it. Ireland will now travel to Paris next Saturday in the hope that they can carry this momentum into the game at the Stade de France.

Speaking after the game Andy Farrell knows his side face a tough test against France knowing that they’ll most likely need a bonus point win over them to secure the Six Nations crown. 

“I have coached plenty of teams — I have played games over there as well — and it can be so frustrating sometimes because they always have extra energy, extra fight and I am sure they will have that next week as well.”

“Just to win in Paris is very tough. As the game goes on we will see how it falls and we will adapt accordingly.”