Kidney saves cordon bleu recipe for France

Ireland 29 Italy 11

If this was the hors d'ouevre before next weekend's entrée in the Stade de France, it was an appetiser which was enough to whet the appetite without quite hitting the spot.

However, Saturday's workmanlike victory over an outclassed Italy left the Ireland coach, Declan Kidney, more positives than negatives – not least the fact he can now bring his Grand Slam champions to a venue where they have not won for 10 years without being overburdened by expectation.

For this was not a performance to set the pulses racing and there was a definite impression that Ireland, particularly in their backline play, had plenty in reserve. Such is the psychological significance of victory in Paris, as Kidney's squad progresses towards the World Cup, that it is safe to expect the full Monty next Saturday, with moves the French will not have seen.

Such is the paucity of Italian attacking ambition that Ireland never had to search for their extra gears. The Italy coach, NickMallett, admitted as much afterwards when he said the second-half scoreline of 6-3 to Ireland was eminently pleasing on the basis of Italy's pre-match intention to prevent a hammering from superior opponents.

This damage limitation exercise was based on committed defence and dogged scrapping at the breakdown. When they had the ball, Italy's lack of ambition was embarrassing. Time and again, they worked possession to pods of runners standing close to the ruck – even when inside their own half – a policy which achieved nothing more than running down the clock. Craig Gower at outside-half had nothing to work with outside him, kicked poorly and did not present any meaningful threat with ball in hand.

Their try came directly from Irish hesitancy and, while they deserve credit for sustained second-half cussedness, overall Mallett's Six Nations mixture looks destined to be stirred by yet another wooden spoon.

There was no sense of self-congratulation in the Ireland camp, rather a quiet satisfaction at the performance of the set piece and an acknowledgement that there is a need for improvement going into a seminal weekend.

Scorers: Ireland: Tries Heaslip, O'Leary; Conversions O'Gara 2; Penalties O'Gara 4, Wallace; Italy: Try Robertson; Penalties Gower, Mirco Bermagasco.

Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, A Trimble (K Earls, 55); R O'Gara (P Wallace, 65), T O'Leary (E Reddan, 73); C Healy, J Flannery (R Best, 55), J Hayes (T Court, 72), L Cullen, P O'Connell (D Ryan, 60), K McLaughlin, D Wallace (S O'Brien, 72), J Heaslip.

Italy: L McLean; K Robertson (A Masi, 58), G Canale, G Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; C Gower (R Bocchino, 65-73), T Tebaldi (S Picone, 65); S Perugini (Castrogiovanni, 72), L Ghiraldini (capt, F Ongaro, 72), M Castrogiovanni (M Aguero, 55), C Del Fava (M Bortolami, 49), Q Geldenhuys, J Sole, Mauro Bergamasco, A Zanni.

Referee: R Poite (France).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project