Ireland vs Italy Guinness Six Nations Player Ratings

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Sunday Feb 11, 2024

Andy Farrell’s Ireland held Italy scoreless at the Aviva Stadium to get their second win of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.


Scoring three tries in the first half and another three in the second half, Ireland were exceptional without any real pressure from Italy.


15 Hugo Keenan – 9

Unquestionably the best fullback in international rugby, completely infallible when it comes to the basics and has plenty of razzle-dazzle in the attack. Keenan is the Rolls Royce of modern fullbacks.

14 Calvin Nash – 7

A second try in his second Six Nations outing, Nash is clearly a different player to Mack Hansen but what he lacks in creativity he more than makes up for in work rate and power in the carry.


13 Robbie Henshaw – 8

One of those rare players who just gets up to speed super quickly, he was excellent in round one, he just went up another level today and once again gives Farrell a real headache as to pick in the centres.

12 Stuart McCloskey – 6

Some good carries and rock solid in defence, McCloskey is mr dependable but is currently a step behind his centre colleagues.


11 James Lowe – 9

Ultra busy as he caused the Italians headaches every time he got the ball. This effort was rewarded with a well taken try, once again his left boot was a huge defensive weapon.

10 Jack Crowley – 9

Exceptional with ball in hand, Crowley will absolutely encounter tougher days in the future, but there is no doubt he will handle them. His pace and vision offers a new wrinkle to the Irish attack that makes it all the more dangerous. A first test try was a great moment to cap the performance; making it better was that his good mate Craig Casey gave the final pass.

9 Craig Casey – 7

This is just the performance the Munster scrumhalf needed to push his teammate Conor Murray for the backup spot behind Jamison Gibson-Park. Certainly, there are areas for improvement, but his speed of delivery, sniping running game and box kicking are all at a high standard.

8 Jack Conan – 6

A real powerful ball carrier for Ireland throughout, defensively he put in some big hits and was really effective at ruck time.

7 Caelan Doris (c) – 7

The captain led with aplomb but is not as eye catching when playing in the 7 shirt, one can certainly see his work ethic remains really high in terms of guaranteeing quick ruck whilst his drive in the maul is exceptional.

6 Ryan Baird – 7

A menace at the line-out, Baird disrupted the Italians from the off with his ability to get off the ground at light speed. Today proved once again that Baird looks best when in the backrow as he has bit more zip in his legs rather than when he starts at lock.

5 James Ryan – 5

Unusually quiet by his high standards as he now looks to be firmly out of the starting line-up when Tadhg Beirne and Joe McCarthy are available. In saying this, his bulk combined with McCarthy’s had the Irish scrum purring with power and he looked back to his normal standards at the line-out.

4 Joe McCarthy – 8

The player of the tournament through two rounds, McCarthy is the new foundation block around which the Irish pack is built. Still just 22 years old, the powerhouse is a modern-day enforcer whilst also combining the subtle skills of line-out jumping and a silky passing game.

3 Finlay Bealham – 8

There is a real argument to be made that Bealham could be Ireland’s first chocie tighthead even when the exceptional Tadhg Furlong is available. Rock solid at scrum time and dynamic with his carries, it will be interesting to see who wears the number 3 shirt for the rest of the Championship.

2 Dan Sheehan – 9

Alongside Malcolm Marx, Sheehan is the best hooker in the world today. His physical attributes are unlike any we have seen before; perhaps the best description would be he is a Schalk Brits with an extra 15-20kg.

1 Andrew Porter – 7

Coming in for criticism during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal and last week, where he was penalised off the park both times, the Leinster loosehead had a clean outing today whilst maintaining his strong carrying game. At the moment, Porter is unmatched when it comes to importance to this Irish side.

Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher (6), 17 Jeremy Loughman (5), 18 Tom O’Toole (5), 19 Iain Henderson (6), 20 Josh van der Flier (7), 21 Jamison Gibson-Park (8), 22 Harry Byrne (6), 23 Jordan Larmour (4)


15 Ange Capuozzo – 7

Italy’s bright spark at the back was the Azzurri’s only real attacking threat today, but Ireland was aware of what he brought to the table and swarmed him at every opportunity.

14 Lorenzo Pani – 3

Completely anonymous throughout, Pani wasn’t afforded any real opportunities with time and space to make something happen.

13 Juan Ignacio Brex – 5

The better of the Italian centres but, in reality, spent the bulk of the fixture defending. Unlike round one against England, Brex could not get on the outside of the Irish defence.

12 Tommaso Menoncello – 2

A yellow card and a number of handling errors was a disappointing return to earth following last weekend’s brilliant performance.

11 Monty Ioane – 5

The busier of the two Italian wingers as he went looking for work but usually ran straight into a green defensive wall.

10 Paolo Garbisi – 6

A tenacious competitor no doubt and although he is onle 23-years-old he does have 31 test caps and has moments in every game where he makes a head-scratching decision or two per game.

9 Stephen Varney – 2

Charged down twice and unbelievably slow at the ruck, Varney was on the back foot as his pack struggled to get any parity.

8 Michele Lamaro (c) – 4

The captain looked uncomfortable at the base of the scrum, and between himself and the two nines, there were several times when the ball just needed to be shifted but wasn’t.

7 Manuel Zuliani – 4

Like his captain, Zuliani struggled against the exceptionally physical Irish backrow.

6 Alessandro Izekor – 5

Lacked the punch that he was expected to bring in Sebastian Negri’s absence. Whilst they are two very different players, Izekhor just couldn’t generate any go forward for his team today.

5 Federico Ruzza – 5

The best Italian forward today, Ruzza, fought all afternoon in the face of green pressure. He offered some good close-quarters carries but was part of the issues that the Azzurri experienced at line-out time. His substitution at 63 minutes saw the Italian pack’s issues go up a level.

4 Niccolò Cannone – 4

He was pretty anonymous throughout as he didn’t bring the usual hard edge that is the key characteristic of his game.

3 Pietro Ceccarelli – 3

It says it all that the Italian front row were all substituted within 57 minutes as they were blown of the park at scrum time.

2 Gianmarco Lucchesi – 5

There were no opportunities for Maul to try today for Lucchesi before he was substituted in the 56th minute.

1 Danilo Fischetti – 3

Gone just after one minute into the second half, Fischetti got worked over by Finlay Bealham and Dan Sheehan all afternoon.

Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera (3), 17 Mirco Spagnolo (3), 18 Giosuè Zilocchi (4), Andrea Zambonin (5), 20 Ross Vintcent (4), 21 Martin Page-Relo (2), 22 Tommaso Allan (N/A), 23 Federico Mori (4)


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