Ireland v Italy: Six Nations 2024 – live | Six Nations 2024
TRY! Ireland 5 – 0 Italy (Jack Crowley)
7 mins. Hugo Keenan decides it’s time to get his team on the front foot via a darting run from his 22 that puts Ireland on the attack in the Italy half. They zip the ball though some powerful and organised carries that eventually works the ball right to Crowley to move through a gap and score.
Crowley pulls the conversion low and wide. Appears it’s more tricky out there for kickers than it looks.
4 mins. From the lineout Italy have some pedestrian phases that are easily contained by Ireland, but Henshaw is then too keen at the ruck, loses his balance and is pinged for off feet.
Garbisi tees it up and drives it low in the strong breeze but pulls it just wide. Solid start from Italy, though.
2 mins. Doris claims the kick-off and Ireland recycle a couple of times before Crowley clears. Italy take a turn in running some phases before possession is booted away.
This pattern is repeated until Casey shanks one into touch in just inside the Ireland half.
Paolo Garbisi kicks us underway
The teams file out of the tunnel, past the Six Nations trophy and out into a lovely sunny late winter day in Dublin. Superb conditions for it.
Pre-match reading from the wider Six Nations cinematic universe
What do you make of the game that’s afoot? Let me know via email or on the infernal socials @bloodandmud
For all the talk of Italy being a tougher challenge now, this has not prevented Andy Farrell from making six changes, most of whom are big hitters. Peter O’Mahony, Bundee Aki, Tadhgs Beirne & Furlong and Jamison Gibson-Park are all out of the starting lineup.
Italy welcome back willowy wonder Ange Capuozzo who replaces Tommy Allan at fullback, while Stephen Varney is in a scrum half. There are few enforced changes in the pack as injuries to Sebastian Negri and Lorenzo Cannone bring in Alessandro Izekor and Manuel Zuliani to the back row and shift captain Michele Lamaro to Number 8.
IRELAND: Hugo Keenan; Calvin Nash, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Finlay Bealham, Joe McCarthy, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Caelan Doris (capt), Jack Conan.
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson-Park, Harry Byrne, Jordan Larmour
ITALY: Ange Capuozzo; Lorenzo Pani, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Montanna Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Danilo Fischetti, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Pietro Ceccarelli, Niccolo Cannone, Federico Ruzza, Alessandro Izekor, Manuel Zulani, Michele Lamaro (capt).
Replacements: Giacomo Nicotera, Mirco Spagnolo, Giosue Zilocchi, Andrea Zambonin, Ross Vintcent, Martin Page-Relo, Tommaso Allan, Federico Mori
Look, let’s be honest, on the face of it this is a difficult match to get too excited about. For a start, the result is more certain than Bradley Walsh’s son getting a presenting job he doesn’t deserve: Italy haven’t beaten Ireland in 14 previous attempts and have never managed to it Dublin. It’s not going to happen today, either.
So what to focus on to keep the interest in the next few hours? Well, Italy are a side transformed from that which capitulated in the Rugby World Cup; their combination of verve and pumped young forwards, as the England match proved, are always good value.
Ireland fans will look to Jack Crowley to cement the international aplomb with which he conducted affairs in the Marseille victory, as well as Caelan Doris’s burgeoning captaincy credentials.
It is easy to judge a game not worthy of your energy when the only factor up for debate is the margin of victory rather than the identity of the victor. But don’t be surprised if this turns out to be an interesting tussle – there’s enough ability out there in both teams to make this a good ‘un.