Ireland kept the pressure on unbeaten Six Nations leaders France with a 57-6 loss to Italy on Sunday in a game that turned farcical after the visitors were forced to play most of the game with 13 men. Ireland were leading 7-3 when substitute hooker Hame Faiva, replacing the injured Gianmarco Lucchesi, was sent off and, because Italy resorted to uncontested scrums, had to appoint another player to leave the pitch for the last 61 minutes.
With gaps everywhere, the hosts followed Joey Carbery’s first try with eight more from Jamison Gibson-Park, Peter O’Mahony, Kieran Treadwell, Ryan Baird and two each for James Lowe and debutant Michael Lowry. Ireland, trailing France by three points after taking a losing bonus point in Paris, must beat England and Scotland to have a chance of winning the title.
“I think they did really well with 13 men, it was very sloppy on our part at times but a good result in the end,” man of the match Josh van der Flier said in a pitchside interview. . Ireland probably could have overtaken the French on point difference in a game with little else to gain, short of gaining experience with players such as Carbery, who started ahead of the in-form captain Johnny Sexton.
The hosts looked set to go wild when Munster’s fly-half went over the top for the first try at four minutes, but a few careless penalties got Italy into the game and on the scoreboard thanks to a huge long-range penalty from Edoardo Padovani. Faiva’s red card for a blatant tackle on Irish hooker Dan Sheehan and the ensuing chaos ended any form of Italian resistance. Ireland immediately took the lead when Gibson-Park chose one of the must-see defensive holes to score.
As Italy still had to put eight men in each scrum, but without having to contest, they had only five full backs to defend the Irish seven at each free kick. The huge advantage saw Ireland wrap up the bonus point at half-time thanks to Lowry’s first try and another for O’Mahony.
Ireland still gave up on penalties too easily at the start of the second half while Italy did well, keeping the hosts out for the first 11 minutes. No matter how hard the Italians tried or how erratic the Irish attack was, the overlaps were comical at times and the attacks felt more like a sevens game. Tries from Lowe, Lowry and a first for Ireland for Lock Baird followed.
Already facing a 35th successive defeat in the competition in the most demoralizing of circumstances, Italy fell to 12 men with five minutes remaining after a yellow card for Braam Steyn, with easy tries for Lowe and Treadwell completing their misery.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)