Southland sensational try after big bump


Ludovic Mercier crazy reverse pass


Just how fast is Carlin Isles?


The Human Hurdle Attempt


Springboks edge All Blacks in thriller


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


Streaker starts mass brawl after tackle


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ireland start defense of title with a win against Italy

Ireland start defense of title with a win against Italy

Ireland made a comfortable start to their 2010 Six Nations campaign with a 29-11 win over Italy at Croke Park. Ronan O'Gara was destroyer in chief for the home side as he kicked four penalties and two conversions to keep his side well ahead of an uninspired and static looking Italian side.

Tries were scored by Jamie Heaslip and Tomas O'Leary for Ireland, as Kane Robertson scored one for Italy following a charge down on a Rob Kearney attempted clearance.

The first half was pretty much one way traffic as Ireland controlled the game, despite Italian playing a fair deal in the opposition half. Their lack of creativity and initiative halted their chances of attacking the Irish line though, as they struggled to lift the tempo throughout.

By the same respect, Ireland weren't great in the second half, and will have gone away from the match happy with the win but realising they'll need to pick up their ninety minute performance ahead of their meeting with the French next weekend.

The energy levels lifted when Paddy Wallace came on in the second half, but on a whole Ireland were comfortable to defend the lead and not play much rugby in the last forty. Perhaps the fairly pedestrian nature of the Italian game plan contributed to that, but in fairness the match was over as a contest by halftime.

Ireland's unbeaten run now extends to 12 matches, following on from a superb year in 2009.


Time: 05:06

Posted at 5:33 pm | 29 comments

Viewing 29 comments

pauvre type February 06, 2010 4:48 pm

preum's

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3/4 centre February 06, 2010 4:52 pm

I'm pretty disappointed by the game of the irish men against italia this afternoon. It was good but not enough... Something was wrong but i don't know what. Btw the essential is their win and I'm looking forward next week, with the clash I am waiting for at the stade de france. allez les bleus, jouez votrte jeu sans complexe les mecs!!!
I hope Italia will continue to grow up, with good defensive performance like today. Unfortunately I find their offensive game very poor.

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sergio p February 06, 2010 5:38 pm

holy shit that was the worst advert for rugby i have seen for a while i was able to get a beer from the fridge at the start of a ruck when i got back the italian scrumhalf was still weighing up his options i rekon they should put that bergomascco old boy back at scrumhalf that was alot more entertainig

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creggs08 February 06, 2010 5:58 pm

great first half but ireland just died in the second... until paddy wallace came onto the field...and didnt get a knock to the head!

what were italy at at the ruck time... as one commentator said it was like the scrum half went for a cappachiuno... so slow

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Anonymous February 06, 2010 7:12 pm

Very poor game and very pedestrian. If ireland play like that v France they will be destroyed. Kearney was very lethargic today, almost arrogant with his kick that was charged down. Lazy performance.

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Anonymous February 06, 2010 8:22 pm

'comfortable start'??? they had A LOT OF HELP from the ref, Italy is in great form right now and if the ref hadn't been so biased they would have probably lost for less than 15 points
FORZA ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous February 06, 2010 8:51 pm

everyone who thinks you can just walk onto a pitch having not played since november and put 50+ points on a team needs their head examined, we are one for one, and CLEARLY they know they need to be at their best against france if they are to stand a chance. But at the end of the day we are where we wanted to be, have a clean bill of health and who knows what french team will turn up in scotland tomorrow, i predict a good weekend

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Anonymous February 06, 2010 11:49 pm

''comfortable start'??? they had A LOT OF HELP from the ref, Italy is in great form right now and if the ref hadn't been so biased they would have probably lost for less than 15 points
FORZA ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!'

the most sensible losing team supporter comment i've ever read! well done! i mean the annoyance over the ref is there but at least you didnt go into 'we would have won' realms!

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Anonymous February 07, 2010 12:04 am

^lol, but I'm not Italian, I was just pissed at the ref

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Benson February 07, 2010 9:48 am

I do fail to see the 'great form' you speak of though. It certainly wasn't on show yesterday mate. The lack of ambition was appalling. Their defence was pretty sound though

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Anonymous February 07, 2010 12:29 pm

the yellow card was very harsh... nothing dangerous

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Anonymous February 07, 2010 1:17 pm

IRB directive has ensured that all Spear Tackle's are sanctioned with a caution at least. I don't think Poite wanted to use it, but he had to.

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Anonymous February 07, 2010 1:26 pm

That yellow was very soft.

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BTesco February 07, 2010 6:08 pm

I think people in the home nations, myself included have been guilt of being overly dismissive of Italian rugby. Don't forget the number of their players who are in the French Top 14 and Premiership and the respect they gain form opponents for the physicality of their forward play, yes ireland were poor at times but the ferocity of the Italians was often very telling, there's no more easy games in the six nations, if Italy can find a half back partnership, big if, and a go-forward 12 I can see them causing a lot of trouble fairly soon, after the next world cup perhaps.

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simon February 07, 2010 10:31 pm

Italy are looking more and more like an international side that can contest matches with the rest of 'em.

You could blame Ireland - they really didn't look great, did they? - but also, Italian defense is pretty tough, at least in the middle of the field.

And that yellow was the softest yellow I've ever seen. Hopefully it was something the IRB has passed down to referees, telling them to quash any sort of spear tackle. I'd like to avoid attributing it to the instincts of a French referee.

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rehanb February 08, 2010 12:07 am

the refeering was very biased to ireland, there were 3 very possible yellow cards against ireland that werent called

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Anonymous February 08, 2010 12:50 am

Pat on the back to Irelands U20s on Friday night, they came through convincingly against Italy U20s scoring 39-0. The futures bright looking at some of them youngsters!

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vinniechan February 08, 2010 5:10 am

Has it occured to anyone that perhaps the Italians were not given enough credits? I must be watching a different game to believe they actually stunned the Irish upfront in the first 20 minutes, and fronted up for a large part of the game, which contributed to Ireland not firing.
I thought Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trible etc played well.

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vinniechan February 08, 2010 5:11 am

But then when BOD was the best kicker in the game, that says a lot...

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simon February 08, 2010 7:52 am

I dunno, vinniechan. I mean, yeah, BOD made some great kicks to touch (It's ridiculous how lucky the man gets when the ball lands inches from the touch line!), but ROG didn't make too many poor kicks, did he? And I could be wrong, but I don't think he missed any penalty shots (but I skipped over the last 15 minutes or so), and I thought he made both the conversions.

I was surprised at Kearney - like Byrne for Wales - having somewhat of an "off" night at fullback. Now, yeah, his kicks weren't up to the standard they're usually held at, but it's not like he had a poor game.

"I must be watching a different game to believe they actually stunned the Irish upfront in the first 20 minutes" -- they did the same thing against SA in the Autumn Internationals. They really can look like quite a good side sometimes, and I think they're only moving forward. It's pretty exciting, really. This year, I actually WANT to watch the Scotland-Italy match, as it has the potential to be pretty close.

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Anonymous February 08, 2010 8:18 am

Italy are better than they've ever been before.
If you look at their team, many of their players are in the GP or T14.
The main difference these days, is they can tackle pretty well and their defense is pretty well organized.

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Anonymous February 08, 2010 11:49 am

hey, dont knock scotland, they put in a good performance against france, and i believe with a full side they can do some damage, now im realistic and they arent going to win much, but im hoping they can pull out 2 wins this tournament at least!

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Lenny Leinsterson February 08, 2010 12:51 pm

If Ireland play the way they did in the first in Paris great but if they go out and play like the 2nd it could be embarrassing. Why you would choose to go out and play a slow game like that I dont know, maybe they thought they'd done enough and decided to save themselves for Paris.

Good Points:

Scrum isn't as bad as the press and every halfwit keeps harping on about.

Lineout looks good but it couldnt have looked bad against such a shocking Italian display. Probably the most toothless display I've ever seen from Italy :(

Bad Points:

The general lack of ambition in the second half

The aimless kicking

The back three not functioning as a unit

Kearney's awful kicking

Bowe and trimble's lack of kickig

D'arcy's numerous excursions up his own arse in attack, you have the best centre around outside you give him the blinking ball!

Finally all the injuries :S McLaughlin was ok but you cant replace somebody of ferris' quality with someone mediocre, if they lose O'Gara and sexton :S eep! I quite like paddy wallace but he isnt an international outhalf but he's the best available.

I dont like saying it but Trimble wouldnt be a great lose goin by saturday, Grand in the first half but average at best second maybe injury was hampering him but earls definately looked more of a threat when he was on.

O'Connell should be grand apparently but that was one hell of an egg he had beside his eye!

Before I forget I was disappointed in the IRFU for forgetting or ignoring any mark of respect to Bill McLaren the other matches had a silence why didnt they? Suppose Mary takes up a lot of time at the start.

Here's hoping for a shock in Paris :)

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Huh!! the 3rd February 08, 2010 9:06 pm

Eoin Reddan shouldn't play for Ireland again, the amount of mistakes and lack of direction he provided in only 10 minutes, and has done this season is staggering. Boss is by miles the best option after O'Leary. Why he's moving to Leinster to play 2nd fiddle when he is doing well 1st chioce in Ulster is beyond me.

Question that has to be asked. Leinster fans look out. Was Ireland's poor 4th quarter anything to do with the fact that there were only 2 Munster players on the field, Ryan and Earls, and they seemed the hungriest for action along with Paddy Wallace? Ryan hit everything at pace, instead of this standing start bullshit. If Ferris misses France, he'd be a better more physical option than McLaughlin. He's more aggresive, as pacy and obviously a line out option too. Here's hoping Ferris is back though.

Don't get me wrong, I like Leinster, but as I've written before, their forwards ruin so much of their chances. Their was no spark in that last 20 and I feel it played a part.

Oh and don't remember Bowe actually recieving 1 pass. Everything that went his way were kick chases. Whats the point in having a power runner if you don't bring him onto ball?

Also, on the slow ruck ball. I never agree with the Times Stephen Jones, but his idea about changing the rule where the ball is out once its clear at the hind most feet is pretty good. This means the SH has to clear it and can't spend 20 seconds waiting for forwards to line up. Don't know about you, but seeing the ball sitting there while the SH makes up his mind is worse than the endless aimless kicking, and thats fairly bad.

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Anonymous February 08, 2010 10:25 pm

Irishmen were totally offside on the last italian action of the highlights. Symbol of the(ir) match(es), they never have a decent ref.

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Mr. P February 09, 2010 12:15 am

"Whats the point in having a power runner if you don't bring him onto ball?"

Well, Bowe is also - normally - excellent on the chase, as well. But I agree that they really should get the ball to him as often as possible, as he's a wonderful winger.

I'm not familiar enough with the tournament rules, but if O'Gara were to get injured while Sexton is out, couldn't Kidney just call up Humphreys? Or is it too late as he wasn't named at the beginning? I know he's pretty lackluster in defense, but offensively and kicking-wise, he can be inspirational.

And I know this might be a moot point, but for what it's worth, I'd quite enjoy seeing Italy join the Magners League. It could always bring some more exposure to the game.

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mise February 09, 2010 12:41 am

good point on the lackluster leinster lads.
I noticed Ryan absolutely throwing himself into it.
In fact, Wallace and himself were ok when they came on.
Ferris in France - that would be interesting.
He's a real form player, but my, les froggies won't be welcoming him with open arms.
Just to win the feckin game, Quinlan and Horgan would actually help this time - the much maligned pair are both on fire right now.
But what are the chances?
(Is quinlan even in the squad - can he be drafted due to injuries?)

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 4:39 am

a rough guess in my eyes:

Ireland v France 2010 in croke park....ireland win

Ireland v France 2010 in paris....

i shall not finish that sentence....

i do fear for ireland chances.

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Eoghan February 09, 2010 9:54 am

Pretty bloody awful game. Italy were ridden a bit by the ref, but its hard to have any sympathy for them, playing such a limited and negative game (apart from the yellow which was definitely not merited).

I suppose I'd say you shouldn't take much out of it, in terms of predictions, but then I would say that wouldn't I, because if you did regard it as a form index you'd be depressed as an Irish supporter.

You don't go from being a good side to a bad side overnight - Bad dress-rehearsal, great opening night - fingers crossed.

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