Ireland v Wales – story of the game
Ireland run in eight tries in dominant performance in Dublin.
Robbie Henshaw ran in two tries but trudged off the Aviva Stadium field with his right arm in a sling as Ireland thumped Italy 56-19 in the NatWest 6 Nations.
Tadhg Furlong limped out after just three minutes with a left hamstring injury, joining Henshaw as a doubt to take any further part in the tournament.
Jacob Stockdale also bagged a brace, with Conor Murray, Bundee Aki, Keith Earls and Rory Best all crossing as Ireland racked up eight tries.
Tommaso Allan, Edoardo Gori and Matteo Minozzi hit back late for Italy, but the visitors had already been easily overwhelmed by Ireland’s starting XV.
Tweet of the match
100% Georgia would be making a better game of this is in Dublin.— Jon Sleightholme (@JonSleightholme) February 10, 2018
Player of the match – Robbie Henshaw
Henshaw was at the centre of everything for Ireland before he was forced off early in the second half and his partnership with Bundee Aki was a constant thorn in the side of an often stretched Italy backline.
Moment of the match
Keith Earls try. Earls ran in the bonus-point score after just 34 minutes as Ireland took complete control against an over-matched Italian side. Flanker Dan Leavy earned the turnover and the ball worked its way back to Bundee Aki, who stepped inside his man before breaking clear of the Italy backline and his perfectly-weighted pass to Earls allowed the winger to sprint into the corner unopposed.
The two early tries worked wonders for Ireland’s confidence after the testing conditions made running rugby almost impossible in Paris last week. Centres Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki ploughed their way through the Italy backline almost at will to score three tries between them and make another. And as the game wore on, the more confident Ireland became and on this sort of form they will take some stopping.
Back to his Best
Ireland captain Rory Best went over for Ireland’s sixth try and his first for five years. The veteran hooker put the finishing touches on a driving Irish maul after Devin Toner had collected a lineout from Best.
Waiting on injury update
Robbie Henshaw was forced from the field after scoring his second try shortly after half-time with his right arm in a sling and coach Joe Schmidt will be hoping it is not a serious injury as Henshaw was immense for Ireland and is key to their championship chances. That came after prop Tadhg Furlong had to be replaced by Andrew Porter just three minutes into the contest after suffering a hamstring injury. Both players are important cogs for Schmidt’s men.
Who’s up next?
France v Italy (Six Nations, Friday, 23rd February)
Ireland v Wales (Six Nations, Saturday, 24th February)