Ireland 29-11 Italy: Post Match Analysis

7 02 2010

For Grand Slam champions this was a particularly rusty showing with Italy having just enough to ensure they weren’t blown away. Sadly, with Italy showing little signs of progress over the Autumn, this game was always going to be a case of ‘how big will the win be’ rather than ‘who will win’.

The surprise came in the shape of Ireland never quite being able to put Italy away. A margin of 18 points is not very much when playing Italy at home and therefore BOD’s post match frustrations are entirely understandable. Despite one or two moments of brilliance from O’Driscoll and a period in the middle where suddenly Ireland looked threatening, they failed to play like the Grand Slam champions they are. With Italy offering nothing more than a combative pack and unimaginative backs, it should have been well within Ireland’s reach to put them away more emphatically.

So far it has not been a weekend for full backs and Rob Kearney joined Byrne and Armitage in the under performing category. Kearney, indeed, was far removed from the imperious player of the Summer. Class will out however and we fully expect him to bounce back and be at his best next weekend. Ronan O’Gara, on the other hand, re staked his claim for the 10 jersey, putting in a performance that was controlled and full of impressiveĀ touches. It will be fascinating to see who Kidney picks for next week’s potential championship deciding game against the French. For our money at the Compulsive Hooker, we would go back to Sexton despite O’Gara’s display here.

Italy were supremely limited and what Nick Mallett would give for a couple of quality centres we don’t know. Italy have long had a competent scrum but like Scotland, offer little going forward out wide. It is difficult to see anything else but a very difficult campaign for the Italians and the RFU must be wondering at what stage they will see some return on their investment.

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