IRELAND 56 ITALY 19
Ireland moved to the top of the NatWest 6 Nations Championship for a few hours at least on Saturday afternoon with an impressive eight-try blitz of a poor Italian side at the Aviva Stadium, dulbin
The bonus point victory, secured by the break, as they led 28-0 will be tempered somewhat by a serious injury to Robbie Henshaw.
The Irish also conceded three tries and that will be something Joe Schmidt will review closely ahead of the game against Wales in a fortnight's time
Ireland had coasted into a 21-0 lead in as many minutes with three well executed tires.
The first came after 10 minutes when Henshaw crashed over. Conor Murray was next to canter in after Ireland exploited an Itallian mistake.
And on 21 minutes Bundee Aki came on a good line to take crash ball and get over for the try.
Sexton, who had shaken off a first minute bang to the knee, converted all three - two from the touchline - to put the hosts in a commanding position.
Ireland butchered a few opportunities after that but on 35 minutes they punished another Italian error and secured the five match points with a fourth try
Dan Leavy focrced the turnover near halfway, Ireland countered and Aki broke away from two markers to thunder away on an angled run before sends winger Keith Earls in at the corner.
Sexton made it four form four as he goaled the touchline conversion for a 28-0 interval lead.
Henshaw last act of the day was to intercept a loose pass and race in for a try, but on touching down he suffered a serious looking right arm injury. As Sexton converted Jordan Larmour was summoned from the bench for his international debut.
Joey Carberry and Kieran Marmion came on as the halfbacks were replaced.
On 56 minutes Ireland mauled the ball over and captain and hooker Rory Best got the final touch and Careberry's first task was to extend the lead to 42-0 with the conversion.
Italy rallied a little and Ireland will be kicking themselves for giving away a soft try in the 58th minute, outhalf Tommaso Allan going over and converting his own try.
The Irish response was quick, securing ball from a lineout it was winger Jacob Stockdale who took a line through the middle and finally - having had a couple of earlier opportunities - got his name on the scoresheet, Carberry again converting as the Irish inched closer to the half century.
The Italians kept plugging away and deservedly got another consolation, when captain Sergio Parisse kept the ball alive by thorwing it into space after he had gone down the right flank...fortunately replacement Edoardo Gori was switched on and went over. Allan converted.
Stockdale's quich line speed saw him dispossess the Italians and although Jayden Hayward seemed to be coming to make the cover tackle, the Ulster winger backed himself and got over for a second try. Carberry slotted over the touchline conversion and Ireland were 56-14 ahead after 68 minutes.
Italy were rewarded for some further endeavour with a great try, fullback Matteo Minozzi going over in the corner for the unconverted try.
And the Italians looked to be going in for another when Mattia Bellini intercepted in his own '22' and race away down the right tramline. But Earls dug deep into his reserves to produce a great cover run back and deny his opposite number.