Tuesday 12 December 2017

The game at a glance

Star turn

Leo Cullen

David Wallace got the official nod with a typically robust display, Cian Healy had a productive afternoon and Ronan O'Gara was smoothly efficient. But, on his first Six Nations appearance in seven years, Leinster captain Leo Cullen rose to the occasion magnificently. Tormenting the Italian line-out, driving through the scrum and putting himself about all over the park.

Magic moment

The Italians made no secret of their intention to go after the Irish props who they considered either too green (Healy) or too long in the tooth (John Hayes). Their spearhead was bearded behemoth Martin Castrogiovanni but Healy had the Leicester man in his pocket. The sight of 'Castro' trudging off disconsolately (and unwillingly) after 55 minutes was a sweet sight for defenders of Ireland's set-piece.

Ref watch

Roman Poite was under the microscope going in and, while his contribution was never going to be game-deciding, the Frenchman still managed to stand over a stream of baffling calls, the most blatant being the sin-binning of Gonzalo Garcia, and persistently nagging the ear of Paul O'Connell.

Crowd watch

Flat. There was a not a whole lot for the attendance of 77,686 to get excited about and the most enthusiastic singing came from small pockets of Italians enjoying the day out.

Talking point

How much more do Ireland have in the tank for Paris?

Turning point

When it came to attacking ambition, Italy had the penetration potential of a reticent eunuch. Turning points were out of the equation.

They said

"Ireland are a very good side. They're very pragmatic and have probably the best backline in Europe." -- Italy coach Nick Mallett.

"We're delighted with the win. Are we overly excited by the performance? Not too much." -- Ireland coach Declan Kidney.


Saturday, February 13: France v Ireland, Stade de France, 4.30 (Irish time).


Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport