Saturday, February 06, 2010
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.