Ireland Sweep Past Italy To Maintain Perfect Six Nations Start

This thumping eight-try success was both predicted and predictable and was lapped up by the raucous Irish support at the Aviva Stadium.

Schmidt's opposite number Conor O'Shea said he had seen enough in three halves of rugby against Six Nations favourites Ireland and England to show his side can do something in the championship.

Ireland are now on an nine-game winning streak and have won 12 of their last 14 matches.

That particular encounter will not be for the faint hearted, but after Jonathan Sexton's dramatic late drop-goal sealed a famous 15-13 in Paris seven days earlier, this was a relative stroll in the park, even if Ireland did concede three tries.

But fans at least went home happy after a routine win in which five players - one starter and four replacements - got their first taste of the Six Nations.

Conan replaced CJ Stander, while Jack McGrath, Devin Toner and Dan Leavy also came into the Irish pack.

On came Jordan Larmour for his senior debut, as Schmidt emptied the bench.

"We asked for a reaction at halftime, we don't want a pat on the back but I think people saw this team's ability in the second half".

Schmidt's side earned their bonus point after 35 minutes as Aki, who sold a dummy to the Italian defence, accelerated through the gap before switching the ball outside to a supporting Keith Earls.

Ireland made their intent clear early on as Johnny Sexton went for touch instead of the posts, but the Italians managed to hold Conor Murray up as he crossed the line.

The outside centre bagged two tries today, but landed rather awkwardly when scoring the second.

Tommaso Allan, Eduardo Gori and Matteo Minozzi got on the board in the second half.

The were comments welcomed by Ireland captain Rory Best.

Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale scored a brace of tries apiece but the former was one of two costly injuries - prop Tadhg Furlong the other - to the hosts, landing heavily on his shoulder in his second touchdown and having to have oxygen administered.


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