Ireland v Italy

Ireland kick off their autumn campaign against Italy in Soldier Field

Johnny Watterson Sat, Nov 3
LIVE: Ireland v Italy

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  • Good evening folks and welcome to the first Test match of the Autumn Series. Johnny Watterson will take you through Ireland's game against Italy in Soldier Field, which kicks off at 8.00pm Irish time. Here is Irish Times Rugby Correspondent Gerry Thornley's piece in today's paper. One thing to note is the relative inexperience of this Irish side in terms of the caps earned.
    There will also be first caps for Ross Byrne and Will Addison from the bench.
  • "Don't trust that smile," Tommy Bowe says after interviewing Joe Schmidt in Carton Hose earlier this week. Tommy should know.
  • You may have seen this earlier ....
  • A couple of talking points from the England v South Africa match. Big call at the end when Owen Farrell tackled with no arms, his shoulder flattening Andre Esterhuizen. No card. No penalty. General outrage.
    Also SA opting to do a New Zealand and not take a drop goal in the final minute to win the match. They had possession in front of the England posts and could easily have set it up. England won the match 12-11.
  • Nine Irish players tonight are in single digit caps.
  • Here are the teams. By the way Ian McKinley is not starting for Italy. Hopefully the Irish player will get his chance off the bench.
    Ireland: J Larmour (Leinster); A Conway (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), J Stockdale (Ulster); J Carbery (Munster), L McGrath (Leinster); J McGrath (Leinster), N Scannell (Munster), A Porter (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), Q Roux (Connacht), R Ruddock (Leinster, capt), J van der Flier (Leinster), J Conan (Leinster). Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), F Bealham (Connacht), D Toner (Leinster), J Murphy (Ulster), J Cooney (Ulster), R Byrne (Leinster), W Addison (Ulster).

    Italy: L Sperandio (Benetton); M Bellini (Zebre), M Capagnaro (unattached, capt), L Morisi (Benetton), G Bisegni (Zebre); C Canna (Zebre), T Tebaldi (Benetton); N Quaglio (Benetton), L Bigi (Benetton), T Pasquali (Benetton), M Fuser (Benetton), G Biagi (Zebre), J Meyer (Zebre), A Steyn (Benetton), R Giammarioli (Zebre). Replacements: O Fabiani (Zebre), C Traore (Benetton), G Zilocchi (Zebre), M Lazzaroni (Benetton), F Ruzza (Benetton), J Tuivaiti (Zebre), G Palazzani (Zebre), I McKinley (Benetton).

    Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).

    Assistant referees: Romain Poite and Alexandre Ruiz (both France).
  • Caps 11. Tries 11. Jacob Stockdale is back after spending some time out injured. His try sniffing ability has been one of the discoveries of the Schmidt era. You have got to say that a game against Italy is not a bad place to start where he left off.
  • BOD prediction that Ireland will be a little disjointed...
  • A load of kilt wearing band members out on Soldier Field with five minutes to go before kick-off. The stadium is half empty and we are told Jack McGrath is the only Irish player starting today who also started in the famous win over the All Blacks in 2016..
  • The teams are running out now. It must be disconcerting for the Irish players to have such a low key entrance with maybe less than half the seats in the 60,000 capacity stadium occupied.
  • Ian McKinley singing the Italian national anthem. Bundee Aki Ireland's call.
  • Miss the violin version of Ireland's call from last time I have to say.
    Italy launch it to Stockdale. A mistake. he catches and runs it back 40 metres. Great start from the Ulster winger.
  • Ireland are working it into the Italian 22. Good purposeful continuity. And Ringrose breaks forward with a try on but he stumbles and knocks on. Very easy for Ringrose to pick his way through that Italian defence.
  • 5 mins: First Irish lineout is good from Scannell. Gathered well and the ball goes to ground beside the posts. But Beirne muscles through a porous Italian line, almost scrambling along the ground, his long arm reaching forward for Ireland's first try. Far too easy has to be said.
    Carbery converts.
  • Italy react well and press forward into the Irish half. But a routine handing error gives Ireland back possession.
  • Ireland are going thro the phases into the Italian half. Ruddock, Aki, Roux, McGrath. But Carbery kicks it away only for Ireland to get it back from a brutal defensive kick from Italy.
  • 13 mins -Ireland are into the Italian 22. Larmour takes it up and Ruddock bursts thro to a few metres short. Porter then tries to barrel over but Nigel Owens blows for an Irish scrum as the ball is swallowed in a mass of bodies.
  • 15 - Reset scum. But this is a good attacking position for Ireland right in front of the Italian posts. The ball is out. Italy are offside and Owens blows for a penalty. Carbery kicks for an attacking lineout.
  • 18 mins - A good lineout and the ball goes right and then back left. Carbery throws a pass which is cut out. There is a scramble on the ground and Owens blows for an Italian scrum having told the bottle carriers to get off the pitch.
  • 19 mins -Ireland are putting pressure on the Italy scrum. But Italy come away with the ball. It is kicked long to Larmour at full back, who returns t to touch.
  • It is all a little scrappy.Ireland are not putting phases together and they are not being as clinical as they would like to be and are now defending their 22 as Italy push forward. But there's a blue knock-on after a green knock-on and a scrum to Italy.
  • Beirne is being assessed by the physio. Don't know what's wrong but for some reason eir are showing a women's match between England and USA. We are told not to worry.
  • 25 mins - Italy are still in the Irish 22. But it is a green scrum. McGrath feeds and Carbery clears to touch.
    Ireland 7 Italy 0
  • 29 mins - Italy are again finding ground into Ireland's half and towards the 22. They are now in the 22 and in possession. Good hands here and now 5 metres out.... scrumhalf Tebaldi is calling for his big men. Italy are right under the posts but their openside Steyn dives forwards and loses control of the ball. That's a let off for Ireland.
    Ireland 7 Italy 0
  • 30 mins - Irish scrum under their posts. Good defence there from Ireland although it was an unforced error from Italy. Ireland are bashing forward in their 22. Finally an excellent clearance from McGrath to touch. Ireland are relieved with that.
  • 31 mins - Brutal lineout throw from Italy. It is long and ref calls it crooked too. Ireland scrum.
  • 34 mins - TRY. From the scrum Ruddock runs a nice line and the ball is played inside. He takes it into the Italy half. McGrath puts it high and Conway competes in the air but doesn't get the ball. But Larmour comes into the line and his pace takes him through. Dancing feet and stepping off his left foot he burns through the Italian line and off loads to McGrath for Ireland's second try.
    Carbery converts
    Ireland 14 Italy 0
  • 37 mins -Great support line running from Larmour there for McGrath's try. He made it so easy for the Irish scrumhalf....But Italy are straight up into Ireland's half and pushing into their 22. But execution lets them down once again as a loose pass goes into touch. Ireland lineout in their 22.
    Ireland 14 Italy 0
  • 39 mins - Italian centre Campagnaro reads a pass from Ruddock to Larmour just outside the Irish 22. He streaks off under the posts and Italy are finally on the scoreboard. Totally against the run of play but well read from the Italian captain. Converted for 7 points and Italy go into halftime 14-7 down.
  • Halftime - That was a scrappy first 40 minutes from Ireland. As BOD predicted before the game it was somewhat disjointed. There doesn't seem to be much danger of losing but the control is missing and the shape is missing. It' has been all a little too frantic which plays into Italian hands. The try at the tail end of the half will give them some hope.
  • Halftime - The Campagnaro intercept try was a great read from the Italian. Ruddock could not have seen him coming from behind one of his pillars. Andrew Trimble believes it was homework well done by the centre.
  • Kick off. Sean Cronin is in at hooker.
  • What are the chances of a Cronin try?
  • 45 mins - Italy are mauling forward but Ruddock catches a popped ball it and piles forwards. Ireland now on the offensive into the Italy 22. It is good from Ireland and they are pushing forward. Aki brings it on. It comes back and McGrath hits Beirne at pace coming from deep. Beirne punches through for his second try. Great score from the former Scarlets player.
    Carbey converts. Thats 3/3 from him.

    Ireland 21 Italy 7
  • 46 mins - Larmour is in for his first try in Irish colours. The fullback intercepts a long and forward pass from Campagnaro and breaks from deep in his half. Nobody is catching Larmour. That's a poor start from Italy, great from Ireland and deserving for Larmour, who is putting his imprint on this match.
    Carbery converts 4/4
    Ireland 28 Italy 7
  • 50 mins - Italy responding but Porter goes in and wins a ground ball from his feet. Great strength. Italy remonstrate with Owens but he's having none of it.
  • 54 mins - There are a few Irish tracksuits coming off on the sideline as the bench begins to come in. But there's a lineout first. Conan bursts up the middle as Ireland launch another attack. Carbery. Aki. Kilcoyne who has come in. Beirnetakes it on as Owens arm goes out for an Irish penalty. Ringrose. Stockdale and Kilcoyne again. No advantage and the ball goes back.
    But Carbery is down.
  • 55 mins -Carbery is okay and kicks to touch for an Irish lineout. Cronin hits his mark and Ireland sweep forward. Aki pumps forwads and Cronin is in possession but the ball goes forward almost bouncing off Larmour.
  • 56 mins - Ireland 28 Italy 7
  • 58 mins -Irish lineout 5 yards from Italy line. The Irish mauls rolls forward and foward and the bodies collapse on the Italian line. Well positioned Nigel Owens blows his whistle straight away. He is well placed to see Cronin touch down for Ireland's fifth try.
    Carbery converts 5/5.

    Ireland 35 Italy 7
  • 61 mins - Lovely little kick thro from Carbery. It didn't quite get to Stockdale but good thinking from the outhalf.
    Carbery departs as Leinster's Ross Byrne comes in for his first cap.
  • 63 mins - Ulster's Will Addison is also in for his first cap.
  • 64 mins - Jeepers Larmour has just stepped through two defenders and streaked up for his second try. Ringrose put him through on the wing and the fullback cuts in to bamboozle the Italians. Atrocious tackling from Italy but also lightening footwork from the Irish fullback.
    Byrne converts for his first Irish points
    Ireland 42 Italy 7
  • 66 mins - John Cooney is also on at scrumhalf.
    TRY. Ringrose is in for the 7th try. Aki makes the ground and Ringrose bursts up from deep and cruises past the stretched defence. It is all getting very easy now for Ireland.
    Byrne converts.
    Ireland 49 Italy 7
  • 68 mins - Nice story this. McKinley is on playing against Ireland.
  • Agree about Ringrose.
  • 70 mins - Ireland 49 Italy 7
    We are stuck in some reset scrumming now.
  • 71 mins. Nigel loses patience and it's an Irish penalty.
  • 74 mins - Cronin hits Toner - in off the bench - and Cooney feeds Ruddock. Kilcoyne, Byrne, Addison. Italy kick away but Ireland are back attacking again. But the ball is ripped from Cronin and it goes forward.
    Ireland 49 Italy 7
  • 75 mins - It's a job well done by Ireland...and again an Italian ball is chucked away, missing the target and possession cheaply given back to Ireland.
  • 78 mins - There are a lot of stoppages now. Italy knock on. Ireland scrum as the clock runs down.
  • 79 mins - Italy are bashing up but not getting very far. Ireland are just defending out the match. It is turned over and Ireland take it up going into the final few seconds...
    That is ridiculous from Larmour. He's taking the piss. He runs in for his hatrick after beating at least FOUR Italian defenders including stepping two of them one on one. It is the fullback's hatrick in the last play of the match.
    You will be seeing this one for some time.

    Final score Ireland 54 Italy 7
  • "He's just running amok out there," says Trimble about Larmour. "Making mugs of people."
  • Hardly a polished performance from Ireland but 54 points is a decent haul and there were a few standout performances from Larmour and Beirne and Ruddock and Conan.
  • Scrumhalf McGrath will be pleased with his shift too and Carbery didn't miss any of his conversions.
  • Surprise or what ?
  • "We knew we were inaccurate at times and didn't pick up the tempo. We knew we wanted to pick up the tempo in the second half" - Rhys Ruddock
  • We are going to finish up here after a try fest from Ireland. The question now is what players did enough to play in the home Test matches over the next three weeks. Did McGrath do enough to displace Marmion as Conor Murray is injured. Where will Beirne fit in next week and what about Larmour and Rob Kearney or will the three-try fullback go on the wing with Earls and Stockdale and Conway.
    Final score
    IRELAND 54 Italy 7