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Ireland 36-0 Italy: Jack Crowley displays attacking qualities in Six Nations bonus-point Dublin win

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Ireland kept up their superb Six Nations form as they stormed to a 36-0 victory over Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in a wholly-dominant display.

Tries from out-half Jack Crowley, hooker Dan Sheehan (two), No 8 Jack Conan and wings James Lowe and Calvin Nash sent Ireland to the top of the standings after two rounds, having picked up the maximum competition points on offer of two bonus-point wins.

Italy, who narrowly lost 27-24 to England in Rome last week, were totally outclassed and struggled hugely for possession and territory in the contest, with centre Tommaso Menoncello sin-binned in the second half for a trip on Lowe.

Ireland 36-0 Italy – Score summary

Ireland – Tries: Crowley (7), Sheehan (24, 50), Conan (37), Lowe (62), Nash (78). Cons: Crowley (25, 39), H Byrne (79).

Italy – N/A

Crowley, whose approach work and attacking touches verged on sublime at times, added two conversions with the boot in victory, with the one worry for head coach Andy Farrell a second-half leg injury to full-back Hugo Keenan.

After an initial Paolo Garbisi penalty miss, Ireland clicked into gear to score their opening try just seven minutes in as Keenan and Robbie Henshaw made stirring breaks, before quick ball through phases eventually saw scrum-half Craig Casey play in provincial colleague Crowley for the latter’s first try of his senior career – for club or country.

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Crowley raced over for Ireland’s opening try – the first of his senior career for club or country

Casey, Crowley

After failing to make the most of a couple of chances in the Italy half, and with lock Joe McCarthy leading the defence brilliantly, Ireland struck for a stunning second try in the 24th minute.

Playing off penalty advantage from a scrum in the Italy half, Crowley first produced a no-look pass to send a sprinting Keenan onto the ball, after which Nash did well to make ground into the 22. From there, Crowley produced a magnificent round-the-player offload for Henshaw to charge on and work the ball out to the waiting Sheehan, who cut in-field to finish.

Sheehan
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Hooker Dan Sheehan finished off a flowing Ireland move for their second try

Crowley struck over the conversion excellently, having poorly missed his first, and after a vital Casey cover tackle denied Ange Capuozzo what would likely have been a devastating line-break, Ireland forced a third try before the break as another scrum penalty gave way to a lineout attack, from where Conan forced his way over from close range.

Conan
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No 8 Jack Conan scored Ireland’s third try before the half-time break

Crowley converted for a 19-0 half-time lead, and Ireland’s bonus-point clinching fourth try arrived 10 minutes into the second period, as a scrum penalty (again) set up an unstoppable maul drive finished by Sheehan.

Sheehan
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Sheehan secured the try bonus-point for Ireland, scoring via a maul drive

Within five minutes, Henshaw looked to have grounded for Ireland’s fifth, but the score was ruled out for a double-movement by the TMO – the preceding attack where Keenan’s injury occurred.

A clear trip by Menoncello after he was stepped by Lowe put Italy back under pressure before long, and a couple of minutes past the hour mark, Lowe produced an outstanding finish for Ireland’s fifth try: stepping on the gas and sprinting in-field into contact, getting within range and reaching out to score.

Lowe
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James Lowe produced an outstanding finish for Ireland’s fifth try

The rest of the contest almost exclusively saw Ireland in the Italy half, but coughing up knock-ons and penalties, until Nash finished another sparkling move involving the twinkling hands of Crowley, Stuart McCloskey and Jamison Gibson-Park, accelerating forward and powering over.

Nash
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Calvin Nash powered over for Ireland’s sixth and final try at the Aviva Stadium

Ireland had one final chance to breach 40 points, but Gibson-Park knocked on as he looked to score on the try-line, leaving Ireland to register their first ‘nilling’ of the Azzurri in Six Nations history.

What’s next?

Ireland are next in action Saturday, February 24 for the third round of the championship, hosting Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (2.15pm kick-off GMT).

Ireland’s Six Nations 2024 fixtures

Friday, February 2 France 17-38 Ireland 8pm
Sunday, February 11 Ireland 36-0 Italy 3pm
Saturday, February 24 Ireland vs Wales 2.15pm
Saturday, March 9 England vs Ireland 4.45pm
Saturday, March 16 Ireland vs Scotland 4.45pm

Italy travel to face France at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Sunday February 25 (3pm kick-off GMT).

Italy’s Six Nations 2024 fixtures

Saturday, February 3 Italy 24-27 England 2.15pm
Sunday, February 11 Ireland 36-0 Italy 3pm
Sunday, February 25 France vs Italy 3pm
Saturday, March 9 Italy vs Scotland 2.15pm
Saturday, March 16 Italy vs Wales 2.15pm
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