Ireland scored six tries in a 48-10 bonus-point victory over Italy yesterday to earn their first win of this year’s Six Nations and condemn the hosts to a 30th consecutive defeat in the tournament. Also yesterday, in Cardiff, Wales remained on course for the most unlikely of Six Nations Grand Slams after they beat an indisciplined England 40-24.
Wales led 17-14 at halftime with tries by Josh Adams and Liam Williams — the second after the TMO ruled what seemed a knock-on in the build-up to be legal.
England, who again gave away far too many penalties, stayed in touch with an Anthony Watson try and the boot of Owen Farrell. Sharp tries by opposing scrumhalves Kieran Hardy and Ben Youngs made it 24-all heading into the final quarter.
However, England continued to give away penalties and replacement Welsh flyhalf Callum Sheedy punished them mercilessly, landing three kicks, before Cory Hill finished things off with a late try as Wales secured a bonus point and the Triple Crown after earlier wins over Ireland and Scotland.
Later yesterday, tries from Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan and Will Connors gave the visitors a seemingly unassailable 24-point first-half lead, but Italy hit back before the interval when Johan Meyer touched down in the corner.
CJ Stander muscled over to secure the bonus point for Ireland and Connors added a further score while Italy had two men in the sin bin, before substitute Keith Earls dotted down a sixth Irish try after the final move of the game in Rome.
“It is always a tough place to come and they are a well coached side,” Ireland captain Johnny Sexton told ITV.
“We need to keep our performance level like that against two very good sides. This group is on a journey together and we would have liked to have that performance before.”
Ireland climbed above Scotland and England in the table into third place with seven points, although both those teams have a game in hand. Italy remained bottom of the standings without a point.
Ireland’s tally of 27 points was their highest in the first half of a test match since February 2018 — also against Italy — and they didn’t relent after the break.
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