CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy both scored hat-tricks as Ireland claimed a record RBS 6 Nations victory over Italy with a 63-10 thumping in Rome.
Ireland set their Six Nations campaign back on track in comfortable style after last week’s 27-22 loss in Scotland, with Keith Earls claiming a brace and Garry Ringrose also crossing the whitewash.
Rob Kearney trudged off late on however, with a suspected biceps injury that proved the sole concern for boss Joe Schmidt.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
“Just the 34 minutes for the bonus points for Ireland in Rome” - PA Sport’s Ireland rugby correspondent Nick Purewal (@NickPurewal) on the dominant display by the Irish.
CJ Stander - The flanker was the standout performer in a dominant display from the Ireland back row and his carrying was immense as he ploughed over for a hat-trick of tries. He led from the front and caused chaos in the Italian defence every time he carried the ball. His hat-trick was the first for Ireland in the Six Nations championship since talismanic centre Brian O’Driscoll scored one against Scotland in 2002.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Stander’s first try. Ireland showed their clinical prowess as they moved the ball with pace to pull the Italian defence out of position and quickly switched the ball from one wing to the other as Robbie Henshaw broke the line and a neat touch from Simon Zebo fed Stander to dive over in the corner.
Head coach Schmidt was not happy about the sluggish start made by Ireland in the defeat to Scotland last week after the late arrival of the team coach into Edinburgh. Schmidt blamed the slow start on that but this week could not have been much different as Ireland were quick out of the blocks and gave Italy no chance to settle as they relentlessly drove forward.