Planet Rugby

Italy shock Ireland in Rome

16th March 2013 16:22

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Alessandro Zanni Iain Henderson Italy v Ireland

Two Six Nations wins: Italy in 2013

Italy defeated Ireland for the first time since 1997 as they edged their visitors 22-15 in Rome on Saturday, claiming their second win of Six Nations 2013.

It was the perfect send-off for Italian prop Andrea Lo Cicero as the Azzurri finish the Championship in fourth, above the struggling Irish and French.

The victory was Italy's first over Ireland in Rome.

For Ireland though the worst could be yet to come as should France beat Scotland by 16 points with a try, then the Wooden Spoon would be theirs. It is also their worst-ever run in the Championship.

Italy wing Giovambattista Venditti was the game's only try scorer early in the second half while the Irish were left to rue three sin-binnings and three early injuries at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Ireland had the early momentum though and Paddy Jackson put the first of his 15 points on the board with a sixth-minute penalty after Leonardo Ghiraldini was blown for a tackle on Conor Murray.

However the visitors' luck soon ran out in a half which saw several of their players come off injured and iconic centre Brian O'Driscoll, possibly playing his last Ireland international, sent to the sin-bin.

Ireland were robbed several times at their own lineout and it was after Sergio Parisse out-jumped Donnacha Ryan deep in Irish territory that the referee whistled for a penalty which Orquera fired over to level on 13 minutes.

Italy resumed in positive fashion, Edoardo Gori dancing through several green shirts before offloading to Parisse at the halfway line where a lineout was called after he failed to release the ball quickly enough.

When Sean O'Brien failed to get up quickly enough after a tackle, Italy were awarded another penalty but Orquera's effort from 40 metres came off the upright.

It failed to faze the hosts, who went 6-3 up thanks to Orquera's penalty after Cian Healy failed to roll away after tackling Parisse.

Ireland suffered further setback when Keith Earls was brought down and forced off after appearing to injure his shoulder. Luke Marshall was then forced off holding his arm and O'Driscoll was sin-binned for a needless stamp on the chest of Favaro.

Italy ultimately failed to capitalise and it took a penalty from Gonzalo Garcia just before half-time to bring up their lead to 9-3, only for Ireland to reduce the arrears through another Jackson penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Italy had Ireland on the ropes in the opening few minutes of the second half and were finally rewarded with their only try of the game thanks to Venditti, who squeezed the ball over on the right. Orquera, from 35 metres out, converted to give Italy a 16-6 lead which had the crowd in raptures.

Ireland, however, came fighting back and cut the deficit through a Jackson penalty after Parisse was sent to the sin-bin for a trip on Madigan.

Jackson was spot-on again from over 40 metres moments later after Italy had failed to release, taking the score to 16-12 just before the hour.

With Parisse still sidelined, Ireland began to push deep into Italian territory and came close to making the breakthrough after a dominant 20-phase spell in which they finally had to settle for a penalty. Jackson converted for 16-15.

Parisse returned, but moments later it was to say farewell to a tearful Lo Cicero who ended his Italy career in the 64th minute and was replaced by Michele Rizzo.

Another chance to extend the lead was spurned when Garcia's penalty effort was short and wide. But when Orquera was restored to kicking duties minutes later he sent Italy 19-15 in front with another low effort 10 minutes from the final whistle.

After Parisse was brought down by several green shirts as he charged down the left Murray was sin-binned for a tripping offence.

Italy won yet another lineout and a subsequent penalty, with Orquera sealing victory in the final minute.

Man of the match: Italy scrum-half Eduardo Gori impressed at the base but for back-to-back strong showings from number fifteen, we go for Andrea Masi, whose chip into his hands before causing opposite number Rob Kearney to cough up the ball into touch was pretty special.

Moment of the match: It was an emotional occasion when Italy prop Andrea Lo Cicero left the field to a standing ovation in his final Test, but we have to go for the key try scored by Giovambattista Venditti. That score put Italy ten points up, which turned out to be enough of a cushion.

Villain of the match: Four yellow cards so take your pick...

The scorers:

For Italy:
Try: Venditti
Con: Orquera
Pen: Orquera 4, Garcia
Yellow: Parisse (51 mins - trip)

For Ireland:
Pen: Jackson 5
Yellow: O'Driscoll (30 mins - stamp), Ryan (68 mins - collapsing maul), Murray (79 mins - trip)

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c) 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Alberto de Marchi, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c) 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Iain Henderson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Luke Fitzgerald.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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