Ruddock’s men stop rot but let Italians off lightly


Ruddock’s men stop rot but let Italians off lightly

Indeed, they will be somewhat disappointed not to have won by more having been on top throughout against an Italian side who rarely threatened.

Ireland dominated the opening half and Italy were fortunate to be only 13-0 adrift at the break.

Adam Byrne was full of running on the left wing , although Ireland suffered an early blow when full-back David Busby had to go off injured.

Ross Byrne, who got them off the mark with a penalty after just 90 seconds, was off target with a couple of penalties.

But the pressure finally paid off after 16 minutes when Ireland were rewarded for going wide after a couple of surges were stopped short, Cian Kelleher spotted a gap and raced over to become the first Irish back to touch down in this year’s Six Nations campaign.

Byrne added the extras to make it 10-0 but Ireland did not push on from there.

Byrne made it 13-0 after 20 minutes but Ireland did not score for the remainder of the half, with a try for Peter Robb being ruled out after Dan Goggin knocked on over the line after an awkward bounce.

The third quarter was very disjointed with Ireland winger Kelleher and Italian out-half Filippo Buscema binned for handbags, shortly after Buscema had failed to land a penalty during Italy’s best spell in the game.

Ireland got back on top and while Rory Moloney was unable to hold a chip from Ross Byrne with the line at his mercy, Ireland won the scrum and did not leave the 22 without a try.

Again they went wide and created the overlap after a few surges were held, but Adam Byrne got over after being put through by Ross Byrne and Robb to make it 18-0 after 55 minutes.

That killed the game but while Ireland continued to control matters to the end, they were unable to add to their tally.

Scorers for Ireland: Tries: C Kelleher, A Byrne. Con: R Byrne. Pens: R Byrne (2).

IRELAND: D Busby (Ulster); C Kelleher (Leinster), D Goggin (Munster), P Robb (Leinster), A Byrne (Leinster); R Byrne (Leinster), N McCarthy (Leinster); P Dooley (Leinster), M Abbott (Munster), R Burke (Munster); S O’Brien (Connacht), Ross Molony (Leinster); P Timmins (Leinster), Rory Moloney (Connacht), J O’Donoghue (Munster).

Replacements: H Brewer (Leinster) for Busby (13); O Heffernan (Leinster) for Burke (40); J Cullen (Munster) for McCarthy (55); F Taggart (Ulster) Timmins; S McNulty (Munster) for Abbott; D Coulson (Leinster) for Dooley (all 62); C McKeon (Leinster) for R Byrne (68); S Gardiner (Leinster) for O’Brien (73).

ITALY: A Torlai; Y Agbasse, G De Santis, G Manganiello, M Bruno Lorenzo; F Buscema,M Azzolini; D Appiah, A Daniele, S Ferrari; F Scalvi, R Michieletto; M Lazzaroni, S Negri Da Oleggio.

Replacements: M Gabbianelli for De Santis, (55); P Buonfiglio for Ferrari; M Archetti for Michieletto; M Gasparini for Torlai; D Zanetti for Scalvi (all 57); S Parisotto for Azzolini (66); C Traore for Appiah (68).

Referee: C Maxwell-Keys (RFU).

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