He was expected against France at the opening of the Six Nations Tournament. He responded last week and confirmed this Sunday with a high-level performance against Italy (36-0 victory). Great presenter of the Irish game Jack Crowley has succeeded, for the moment marvelously, in his mission to take over from Jonathan Sexton. 64 meters covered with the ball in hand, 4 defenders beaten but above all an ability to serve their partners after contact or at the line at the right time which allows Ireland to always play in advance. If he can still progress against the poles and gain in reliability, he is only 24 years old and already has everything to become a great.
Between the end of the World Cup and the start of the Tournament, the Leinster winger had only played two matches. Enough for him to be in top form, and to shine, as was again the case this Sunday. Author of a try despite three Italians on his back (61st), the Irish winger is essential in Andy Farrell's XV. Endowed with a powerful kicking game, he tirelessly pushed the Italians back into their camp on each kicking exchange and allowed his team to recover several munitions in the opposing camp. Penalized twice by the referee, he was especially valuable in defense with 6 successful tackles (100%) and an interception leading to the yellow card against Menoncello. At 31 years old and in a different register from Damian Penaud, he is one of the best in his position.
The Irish hooker scored twice and could even have scored a third try by a few centimeters (53rd). Solid on the basics of the position, the 26-year-old player once again demonstrated constant activity. His counter on the play at the foot of the Italian scrum-half Varney (20th) is at the origin of his try a few minutes later (24th)
Back as a starter as scrum-half for the Nazionale, after starting on the bench against England, Stephen Varney will not have scored any points this Sunday in his duel with little brother Garbisi. Countered twice from the start of the match, as if to remind him of the bad memories of the match against the XV of France last year, the Welshman had a complicated match and never managed to recover a little. control of his team's play. To his credit, he prevents Sheehan from scoring a triple (53rd).
Facing Ireland at home at the Aviva Stadium is already a complicated mission. But then to challenge the second nation in the world by displaying such suffering in a closed scrum is a real nightmare. Put to torture by the Irish first line, Fischetti and Ceccarelli, the Italian pillars, were punished on several occasions. Same observation in touch with 5 balls lost on the throw or stolen by an efficient Irish alignment. Without mastery in conquest, the complicated mission becomes downright impossible.