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Guinness Six Nations: Italy vs Ireland

Ireland will be looking to claim a first Six Nations win of the tournament when they visit the Stadio Olimpico to take on Italy on Saturday.

Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Andy Farrell’s side lost 16-21 in Cardiff in the first round after Peter O’Mahony’s sending off before falling 13-15 to France in Dublin in the last round. Currently fifth on the standings, their title hopes may be dashed but they’ll be confident of having enough to earn a first win this weekend with a number of key players returning.

Italy v Ireland 

16h15

Stadio Olimpico

To Win Match

Italy 10/1

Draw 33/1

Ireland 1/25

Handicap

Italy (+20.5) 9/10

Ireland (-20.5) 9/10


Ireland will be looking to claim a first Six Nations win of the tournament when they visit the Stadio Olimpico take on Italy on Saturday.

Andy Farrell’s side lost 16-21 in Cardiff in the first round after Peter O’Mahony’s sending off before falling 13-15 to France in Dublin in the last round. Currently fifth on the standings, their title hopes may be dashed but they’ll be confident of having enough to earn a first win this weekend with a number of key players returning.

The likes of skipper Johnny Sexton, Connor Murray and James Ryan were all absent in the second round after picking up injuries but are expected to be fit for this one. Sexton this week applauded the job of the relatively new Ireland coaching staff and suggested he’d seen enough to feel optimistic about the direction in which the team was headed in the build-up to the next World Cup.

The Irish have scored the least amount of tries (two) so far this campaign but should be able to add to that tally against an Italian defence that tends to become disorganised as the phases increase. Murray and Sexton’s tactical acumen should see the men from the Emerald Isle able to break down their opponent’s D here.

The Azzurri still have not won a Six Nations match since 2015 but their inexperienced squad has shown true promise at times this season. Their opening score against England in round two proved they have the ability to build phases and put teams under pressure, but it’s probably going to take more time under Franco Smith for the squad to truly click as a unit and threaten the big boys.

20-year-old pivot Paolo Garbisi continues to show flashes of excellence and will be an important figure as this young squad continue to build their identity this World Cup cycle. His X-factor will be on display again this weekend and should lead to a few more scores for the hosts here.

Verdict: Italy 9/10 (+20.5) Ireland will take the win but won’t do so by a landslide. Back Italy to stay within the handicap. 

Written by Shaun Goosen. 

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