Tuesday 23 May 2017

The game at a glance

Craig Joubert is recognised as one of the world's finest referees and after earning a torrent of abuse from French folk for his World Cup final performance in New Zealand, yesterday was an entirely uneventful day at the office for the South African.

Crowd watch

The early kick-off -- thank the TV gods yet again -- ensured that the atmosphere was utterly denuded of noise and colour -- except for the game Italian visitors, that is. And a note to event organisers -- turn off the music and apologise for slicing the Italian national anthem in half.

Turning point

Italian captain Sergio Parisse intimated that when Tobias Botes missed his fourth kick of the afternoon -- a simple effort in front of the posts in the 45th minute -- Italy mentally packed their bags, even at just 17-10 behind.

Talking Point

Ireland managed to achieve a level of physical intensity that was absent against Wales -- one would presume that they can maintain that level of commitment against France next week. However, there is still no valid explanation for the miserable effort against Wales.

In their own words

"Actually Tom took it from half-way, he beat the full-back and chipped the last man and got in..." Mike Ross, inches short of scoring a try himself, on Tom Court's first try for Ireland.

"We had two different teams out there. In the first half we tried to play and kept the score close. But in the second half it was completely different, we suffered beneath the Irish pressure and made many mistakes."

Italy coach Jacques Brunel laments his side's Jekyll and Hyde persona.

And Finally ...

Ireland's scrum will need a serious improvement ahead of Sunday's return to Paris. The Italian back-ups caused problems and after the French pack's powerful display at Murrayfield, Greg Feek and Anthony Foley (right) have their work cut out during the week.

Irish Independent

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