- Ireland held off a spirited Italy to claim a bonus-point on road to a first Grand Slam title since 2018
- James Ryan, Hugo Keenan, Bundee Aki and Mack Hanses all scored tries before half-time for the Men in Green
Ireland held off a spirited Italy to claim a bonus-point on road to a first Grand Slam title since 2018. Italy suffered a 34-20 defeat in the hands of Andy Farrell’s Ireland.
Given their stature in rugby, Ireland faced Italy as overwhelming favourites. Andy Farrell’s men were looking forward to make it three wins in three matches as they played in Rome.
James Ryan, Hugo Keenan, Bundee Aki and Mack Hanses all scored tries before half-time for the Men in Green. But Italy were not letting it go easily, thanks to scores from Stephen Varney and Pierre Bruno. Ireland absorbed Italian pressure in the second half and Mack Hanses ran in for a late try to secure win for his side.
Italy’s head coach will be heartened with his side’s performance against Ireland, who are world number one. On the contrary, Ireland’s head coach admitted that he was frustrated by his side’s wastefulness in the victory. As he saw this as a wake up call for Ireland, Andy Farrell praised Italy for being resilient.
“I suppose the positive is the chances that we did create but the negative is that we didn’t take them all again. What was it? Four or five tries that we left out there? But all credit must go to Italy, that was a proper Test match, that was tough. They’re a proper side, everyone can see their progression but when you’re here and when you’re facing it. They were tough, they were resilient.” Head coach Andy Farrell said after the match, as per RTE.
How The Game Unfolded
Andy Farrell made six changes to his team as they faced Italy on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico in round three. Italy needed to regather some momentum having lost to England last time at Twickenham.
Five minutes into the game, Ireland were already in shape and looking like favourites against an opponent they often defeat. James Lowe had an effort that a TMO review ruled out because he had lost control of the ball before grounding.
But Ryan was on hand to get Ireland up and running, thanks to a brilliant offload by Aki that found Lowe. Italy responded in a brilliant fashion in the seventh minute through Stephen Varney.
Keenan scored Ireland’s second try after repelling the chasing and challenging defenders of Italy. The home side added three points later when Garbisi struck a penalty. Ireland had their third try a few minutes later.
The visitors notched the bonus-point-clinching fourth try four minutes from the half-time through Hansen. Garbisi slotted through a penalty to trouble the scoreboard minutes into the second half. Ryan restored Ireland’s lead to seven points as the clock ticked. Andy Farrell’s side made sure of victory through Hansen’s finish after a brilliant Conor Murray offload.
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