Ireland 56-19 Italy: Joe Schmidt's side score eight Six Nations tries
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 11/02/18 8:21am
Ireland put eight tries past Italy in a 56-19 win at the Aviva Stadium to make it two wins from two for Joe Schmidt's side in the Six Nations.
Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale both scored twice while Conor Murray, Bundee Aki, Keith Earls and Rory Best were also on the scoresheet.
Tomasso Allen, Edoardo Gori and Matteo Minozzi all notched tries for Italy but there was no late comeback for the visitors.
Ireland's victory was marred in part, however, by serious looking injuries to prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Robbie Henshaw.
The Six Nations takes a break next week before Ireland host Wales on February 24, and Italy travel to Paris to face France on February 23.
After a dominant start to the game, Ireland hit the front through Henshaw as he raced onto a flat Murray pass to dive over from close range.
Just two minutes later, Murray was over for his own try after a superb Ireland move saw sumptuous hands from Stockdale and then Jack Conan to free the scrum-half up the left touchline.
On 21 minutes, Ireland were over for their third try as Aki crashed over from a few metres out, once again off an accurate Murray flat pass.
Five minutes from the break, Earls brought up the bonus-point as he showed off super pace to run over in to the corner after a fantastic Aki break through the Italian defensive line off turnover ball - Dan Leavy with the good work at the breakdown.
Sexton made it four conversions from four and it was 28-0 at half-time.
The second half continued in the same vain as Henshaw got over for his second try just four minutes in, as he intercepted a Sergio Parisse pass to race clear under the sticks.
As he grounded the ball with Boni in pursuit, Henshaw sustained a serious arm injury, for which he required oxygen on the pitch - a major concern for Schmidt.
In the 53rd minute, Ireland had their sixth try as skipper Best touched down at the base of a rolling maul for his first Test try in five years.
Italy were finally over for their first score after 57 minutes, when centre Tommy Castello made an incisive break past Leavy and found Allen to touch down.
On the hour mark, Ireland were over again as second row Devin Toner showed neat hands out the back to replacement fly-half Joey Carbery, who in turn found Stockdale off his wing to dive over.
Italy notched their second try of the match with 15 minutes remaining as full-back Matteo Minozzi produced a stunning step past Jordan Larmour, found Parisse, who chucked a pass inside for Gori to score.
With 10 minutes left, Stockdale showed tremendous pace to intercept a Parisse pass on his own 10-metre line and sprint all the way to the Italian line, accelerating past Jayden Hayward.
Italy had the final say as sparkling full-back Minozzi showed serious pace to score in the corner with five minutes remaining. Allen's conversion miss left the score at 56-19, and that is how it ended.
Having failed to click in terrible conditions at the Stade de France, the Irish backline looked in menacing form against Italy, with centres Henshaw and Aki particularly eye-catching.
Ireland's ability to play - and execute - off turnover ball was another major plus point, and something Schmidt will be delighted with.
Andrew Porter also enjoyed a fine Six Nations debut after his early introduction for Furlong. Strong in the set-piece and extremely powerful around the park.
The major negatives to come out of this one for Ireland are injuries.
Tighthead Furlong is arguably irreplaceable to this team, and had to be helped from the field with an early hamstring injury.
Centre Henshaw had been a contender for man of the match until his serious shoulder injury in the act of scoring his second try. Both will be major losses for Schmidt and his team going forward.
Italy - much like in their loss to England last week - produced unforced errors in opposition territory which continually relieved all pressure for the Irish. The Italian discipline was also poor throughout.
Man of the match
Stat of the match
Ireland are also still yet to lose a Six Nations home game under Joe Schmidt...