A demonstration of strength and efficiency. A week after correcting France at the Stade Vélodrome, Ireland were merciless against Italy, swept aside 36-0 at the Aviva Stadium this Sunday, for the second day of the Six Nations Tournament. Improved victory for the XV du Trèfle which scored six tries by Crowley (6th), Sheehan (23rd, 49th), Conan (36th), Lowe (61st) and Nash (78th).
Despite a big turnover made by the coach, Andy Farrell, the Irish quickly took control of the match without ever giving the impression of straining their talent. The Italians, however, deceived themselves for a few minutes by trying to play by hand, like last week against England, but Ireland is still playing at another level.
And after a fantastic recovery from fullback Hugo Keenan, Jack Crowley launched the hostilities with a first try (8th). In the wake of a strong defense and a devastating scrum, the Irish maintained their grip around the Italians without ever releasing it. Pressure poorly tolerated by the Italian scrum-half. Stephen Varney countered twice, and rarely fair in his choices and their achievements.
After a second try, the work of Dan Sheehan at the conclusion of a high-class action by Jack Crowley (24th), the Clover XV played their rugby without ever being worried by an Italian team dominated in all sectors of the game. Just before the break, it was Jack Conan who concluded the first period with a third try (37th).
Penalized three times in 10 minutes after returning from the locker room, the Irish quickly reacted with the bonus try. The double try for hooker Dan Sheehan this time sent into the goal by a well-structured maul around Andrew Porter (50th). The Italians, far too approximate and suffering on the sidelines, never showed themselves capable of truly creating danger among the Irish.
To add to the bill, the Irish relied on the poison James Lowe. Too fast and powerful for the Italians, even with 3 on him, the Leinster winger went to flatten the fifth Irish try on his wing (62nd). The left winger, imitated at the very end of the match by his teammate on the other wing Calvin Nash well served by Gibson Park (78th). It was finally a success for Ireland and Andy Farrell with a five-point victory, in style and without forcing. The only downside is the three failures against Jack Crowley's poles (50% at 3/6). A detail that could be important against greater adversity and a closer encounter.
Hard learning for the new transalpine coach Gonzalo Quesada, who is leaving Dublin as a fan after conceding a narrow defeat against the XV de la Rose in the opening. With England, Ireland - who have scored 11 tries in two matches and logically take the lead in the standings - are the only team still undefeated after two days. Ireland will host Wales in two weeks while Italy will try to take on France on Sunday February 25.