Ireland coach Declan Kidney kept a watching brief today on his side’s next two opponents as Italy walloped Russia 53-17.
It was all very easy for the Italians as they ran in NINE tries to claim a bonus point and send out a warning to Ireland.
The 53 points they amassed was the most scored by any side except New Zealand in a sing;e game in the tournament so far.
Next up for them is a game with USA, which the Azzurri will be expected to win. Then comes the crunch encounter with Ireland on October 2.
The Italians have targeted that match since the draw was made, feeling they can upset the men in green.
Kidney’s men play the Russians on Sunday and the astute Kidney will have taken note, that they scored three tries today.
That, though, was as much down to Italy’s poor defending as much as it was due to inspired attacking from the underdogs.
Today’s result moves Italy into third place in Pool C behind leaders Ireland and Australia with the Russians rooted to the bottom of the table.