Italy Claim a Final Scalp - ( Italy 22 - 15 Ireland)
As the closing day of the Six Nations 2013 went underway, Italy were pitted against an injury wrecked and shaky Ireland. Off the back of a strong performance against England, Italy were in the right form to claim a last scalp before the tournament finished and did just that for the second time at the mighty Stadio Olimpico which seated 74,000 (14000 of which were Irish visitors).
Italy started the first half well with strong performances from the more experienced men in the side. Andrea Lo Cicero, a strong, charismatic veteran with over 100 caps under his belt and at the ripe age of 37 fought his heart out to make his last appearance for Italy a memorable one. The also heavily experienced Andrea Masi made some menacing runs and a couple of clever kicks. Sergio Parisse demonstrated his renowned class with some magical lineout turnovers and a wonderful offload that almost resulted in 5 points. However in the second half a disappointing trip led to a yellow card and left Italy hanging on by the skin of their teeth as Ireland crept back on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately I couldn't find a clip of Parisse's lovely pass but below is another clip of the Italian no.8 pulling off the same sneaky pass against the All Blacks earlier in the year.
Parisse's dominance in the lineout
Amongst the other notable performances was Luciano Orquera who redeemed his good form after previously poor matches. The fly-half made some nice kicks and totted up a very respectable 14 points. Brian O’ Driscoll looked to make his supposedly last game for Ireland a magnificent one but, unfortunately the man didn’t manage to shine on the day and was even yellow carded for stamping.
In the second half, Giovanbattista Venditti finished off a try in the 49th minute that came from wearing and persistant work in the pack. Italy managed to hold their own for the rest of the match resulting in the final score of 22-15.
In the previous article we mentioned whether or not this Six Nations could have been a turn-around in Italian rugby, a revolution perhaps? A good win over France but then followed by two consecutively poor performances against Scotland and Wales didn’t look promising for the Italians. However, things were brought back on track as a great performance against England and a mighty win over the Irish finished the campaign off with a buzz. I think this Six Nations has been a massive turn-around and has proved to Europe, if not the world that Italy is no longer a nation to brush aside. With their first ever win over Ireland and only their second ever double-win in the Six Nations it definitely looks as if Italian rugby is on the rise and begs the question, what will we see in the years to come?
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