International Rugby: Ireland v Italy Preview

International Rugby: South Africa v Wales Preview

Ireland and Italy will get their World Cup preparations underway in earnest when they clash at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday the 10th of August.

Ireland will be looking to make a statement when they take on the Italians on home soil this coming weekend. The hosts come into this one as heavy favourites which is no surprise considering they are ranked 11 places above their opponents on the IRB World Rankings.

Ireland v Italy 
Aviva Stadium
Saturday 10 August
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Ireland 1/50
Draw 40/1
Italy 19/2


Handicap
Ireland (-24.5) 9/10
Italy (+24.5) 9/10

*Forecast Handicap


Ireland
The hosts may be looking to fine-tune their World Cup preparations, and not give too much away in terms of game plan, but they will undoubtedly want a big win here after a rather poor Six Nations campaign which saw them finish the tournament in third-place - nine points off winners Wales and four points adrift of runners-up England.

Ireland weren't at their best when they took on the Italians in the 2019 Six Nations as they only managed to win by ten points. This was a rather disappointing result considering they took a strong team to Italy and had beaten the same opponents 56-19 in the previous edition of the tournament.

With the World Cup looming large and a Test against England later on in August, coach Joe Schmidt may opt to throw a few of his second-stringers into the mix for this one. So don't be surprised to see the likes of Joey Carbery, Jack Carty and Jordan Larmour line up to take on the Italians.

Italy
Connor O'Shea's men will be looking to find some form before the World Cup. It's been a tough old year for the former Ireland international with his side losing all five of their Six Nations games yet again. There was room for some encouragement as the Italians did give decent accounts of themselves against most of their rivals with their only big defeat coming at the hands of Ireland.

O'Shea is likely to field a stronger side than Schmidt as the Italians will most likely unleash their fringe players against Russia on the 17th August. Whether their senior pros can keep up with what is likely to be a spritely young Irish side is up for debate.

Verdict: Ireland (-24.5) 9/10 *Forecast Handicap
It's a rather large handicap for what is essentially an exhibition match but I still feel the Irish will clear it, especially with the youngster looking to impress before the World Cup.

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