Six Nations: Italy come of age with historic win against Ireland

Italy 22 Ireland 15: Azzurri fire World Cup warning to yesterday's losers Ireland and their earlier victims, France

Italy sent out a warning ahead of the 2015 World Cup after they powered to their first win over Ireland yesterday in what has arguably been their most successful Six Nations campaign.

For only the second time – after 2007 – they have won two games in the tournament, their other victims being another huge scalp in France who, along with Ireland, happen to be their group opponents in the World Cup in two years' time.

Meanwhile, Ireland's fourth Six Nations game without a win will cast further doubts over the future of their coach, Declan Kidney, who said after the defeat: "I'd have to sit down and think about whether I want a new contract."

Even though the squad were hit by injury, it is their worst run in the Championship since 2000. They also lost three more to injury in the first half and had three men sent to the sin-bin, not to mention the fact that their line-out was in such disarray they lost four throws.

Despite this, the Italy captain, Sergio Parisse, insisted that the quality of opposition they have mastered this year sets 2013 apart. "You can't compare this with 2007 because we have secured wins against two of the strongest in the world," he said. "We're a squad that's improving. We have sent a strong message to France and Ireland for the 2015 World Cup. Overall in this Six Nations we have managed to put a lot of teams under pressure."

Before kick-off the Italians had outrun all their Six Nations opponents with ball in hand, and dominated possession and territory in all games bar last weekend's visit to Twickenham, where both were 50-50. The trinity of Parisse, Alessandro Zanni and Simone Favaro have been immense, totting up over 527 metres in carries, 19 offloads and 98 tackles – Zanni missing just one in 36. But some old failings are proving to be habits that die hard, and indiscipline still plagues them.

This was evident when the hosts conceded their first penalty after just 18 seconds. By the third minute that count had reached three, and so had Ireland's score after Paddy Jackson slotted his first kick for a 3-0 lead.

Ireland began this game with 11 front-line internationals unavailable and by the time they headed for the dressing room that figure had grown to 14 after Luke Marshall, Keith Earls and replacement Luke Fitzgerald, on for Marshall, had all departed.

Added to that Brian O'Driscoll, possibly in his last game for Ireland, was yellow-carded for stamping on an Italian and the Irish looked in complete disarray after the half-hour. However, though Italy took a 9-3 lead it came via three kicks, including two from Luciano Orquera. Jackson's second kick then left just three points between the sides at half-time

The one try came after the break, when errors from Rob Kearney and Conor Murray led to sustained pressure which was only relieved when the TMO instructed the referee, Wayne Barnes, to reward Giovanbattista Venditti's scramble over the line with a try. Orquera converted and Italy were 10 points up.

Immediately, though, Parisse's trip on Ian Madigan was punished both with a yellow card and by Jackson collecting another three points. Andrea Lo Cicero, on his final and 102nd appearance for Italy, then conceded a penalty which allowed Jackson to reduce the gap to four points before Italy coughed up their 10th penalty and another Jackson strike brought the score to 16-15.

But after one more Irish line-out malfunction, replacement Stephen Archer was pinged and Orquera duly obliged to kick his fourth penalty of the afternoon. Ireland then self-destructed, with Donnacha Ryan and Murray's off-ball efforts punished with yellow cards, leaving Orquera with the final say off the tee to give Italy a historic seven-point win.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn