Ireland 'play much better rugby' than England, claims Italy captain Sergio Parisse

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

After Johnny Sexton's last-gasp drop goal rescued a win in Paris a week ago, Joe Schmidt's side could not have asked for an easier afternoon but the eight-try victory could have come at a cost through the loss of prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Robbie Henshaw to injury.

The error count was high, which ultimately left Ireland struggling to put a dogged Italian side away, but two second-half tries from captain Ciara Griffin ensured that they bounced back from the heavy defeat in France.

The bonus point was secured five minutes before half time when Munster's Keith Earls put his name on the scoreboard with a try of his own.

Before his 77-minute run-out at the top level on Saturday, the 22-year-old had only started three senior games at tighthead for Leinster, all of which came in the Guinness PRO14.

"I thought his chase-down was sensational".

Of course, the negatives at the tail end are all out-weighed by a comprehensive win brought about by Ireland's insistance on dominating possession and running from deep.

Key man: No heroics from Johnny Sexton this week but a ideal five conversions from the tee as his half-back partner Conor Murray took the plaudits with a man of the match performance capped by his first-half try taking a sweet reverse pass from No.8 Jack Conan to race down the left wing and put Ireland into a 12-0 lead on 13 minutes.

Injuries though, particularly to Henshaw, played a part in creating a dis-jointed final period.

"They will have stiffer tests because their opponents will hold on to the ball, unlike us". Most of it was accurate, a few inaccuaracies.

O'Shea, a former Irish global full-back who has established a good reputation as a coach firstly with English side Harlequins, said such experiences would only serve to help his side make progress.

We're disappointed with that.

"It was absolutely massive, it's been a while since we got the win, so this is a massive boost for the girls", a relived Molloy reflected.

Briggs again added the extras, but just as Ireland looked like they would push for the crucial bonus point, they went to sleep and allowed Italy over for a late consolation try through Eleonora Ricci.

I hope their injuries aren't as bad as they looked.

"I like the way they play. For me they play very good rugby; yeah, they are better than England".

It was a disappointing finish for Ireland as they conceded a try with the last play of the match through Elenora Ricci.