Ireland had broken the deadlock in the Tuscany venue with a 15th-minute Johnny McPhillips penalty, and although Italy levelled matters with a successful Antonio Rizzi three-pointer, another place-kick courtesy of Ulster’s McPhillips helped the visitors to establish a 6-3 interval advantage. It looked like they were ready to push on when Jordan Larmour grounded on the right-wing after the resumption, but Rizzi penalties, either side of a Massimo Ceciliani try, edged Italy into the ascendancy.
Larmour touched down for his second try 12 minutes from time, but a resilient Italy fired back with a similar effort from Marco Zanon. However, a wayward Rizzi conversion attempt meant that the home team were trailing by the bare minimum, and even though a Tommy O’Brien try was cancelled out by Italian replacement Alberto Rollero, Ireland ultimately triumphed.
M Ceciliaini, M Zanon, A Rollero try each, A Rizzi 3 pens, 1 con.
J Larmour 2 tries, T O’Brien try, J McPhillips 2 pens, 2 cons, C Fitzgerald con.
M Cioffi; A Bronzini, L Vaccari, M Zanon, D Schiabel; A Rizzi, CVE Trussardi; D Rimpelli, M Ceciliani, M Riccioni; G Baldino, G Venditti; J Bianchi, L Masselli, G Licata.
A Rollero, D Fischetti, G Zilocchi, E Iachizzi, N Casolari, E Fusco, M Biondelli, R dal Zilio.
C Hogan; J Larmour, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Nash; J McPhillips, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, C Connolly; F Wycherley, O Dowling; C Gallagher, P Boyle, C Doris.
A Moloney, R Mulvihill, M Burke, J Regan, G Coombes, J Lyons, C Fitzgerald, T O’Brien.
A Jones (Wales).