...Scrum half Peter Stringer glides over for a try in the left corner after 49 minutes of the 6 Nations clash between the sides at Rome's Stadio Flaminio last February. Ronan O'Gara converted it for a 15-9 lead and Ireland went on to win 28-17 with O'Gara adding two more penalties and Denis Hickie notching a 76th-minute converted try. Tighthead prop John Hayes led Ireland out in Rome on the occasion of his 50th cap...
2005 6 NATIONS: February 6, 2005
ITALY 17 IRELAND 28, Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Scorers: Italy: Martin Castrogiovanni; Pens: Luciano Orquera, Roland de Marigny 3; Ireland: Tries: Geordan Murphy, Peter Stringer, Denis Hickie; Cons: Ronan O'Gara 2; Pens: O'Gara 3
...Captain Brian O'Driscoll runs in for his try in Ireland's 19-3 win against the Italians in 2004. O'Driscoll's try, scored after 33 minutes, was his 24th for his country and saw him reclaim the Irish try-scoring record from his Leinster team mate Denis Hickie. The match will be remembered for the gusty conditions which played havoc with both sides' attacking play, and also Italian fly half Roland de Marigny's opening kick-off which failed to make ten metres and saw Italy try to pressurise the Irish scrum early on...
2004 6 NATIONS: March 20, 2004
IRELAND 19 ITALY 3, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Malcolm O'Kelly, Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan; Cons: Ronan O'Gara 2; Italy: Pen: Roland de Marigny
...Winger Denis Hickie dives in for one of his four tries in the 2003 World Cup warm-up game between Ireland and Italy, played at Thomond Park in Limerick. Ireland powered to a record win against the Azzurri on a bright August day as Hickie (4), John Kelly, Shane Byrne, Girvan Dempsey and David Humphreys all ran in tries. Fly half Humphreys converted 6 of the 8 tries, adding 3 penalties for a 26-point personal haul. Hickie's efforts saw him claim the Irish try-scoring record (19) as he edged ahead of Brian O'Driscoll (18). The latter holds the record at 27 currently, with Hickie on 25...
2003 FRIENDLY: August 30, 2003
IRELAND 61 ITALY 6, Thomond Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Denis Hickie 4, John Kelly, Shane Byrne, Girvan Dempsey, David Humphreys; Cons: Humphreys 6; Pens: Humphreys 3; Italy: Pens: Gert Peens 2
...Captain Brian O'Driscoll knifes through the Italian cover to grab his 18th Test try and become Ireland's record try-scorer, beating the previous best set by his fellow Blackrock College clubman Brendan Mullin (17). Italy looked like dangerous opponents coming off the back of a 30-22 defeat of Wales the previous week, but tries from Peter Stringer, John Kelly, David Humphreys, who claimed the man of the match award, O'Driscoll and Geordan Murphy saw Ireland to a comfortable win...
2003 6 NATIONS: February 22, 2003
ITALY 13 IRELAND 37, Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Scorers: Italy: Try: Denis Dallan; Con: Ramiro Pez; Pens: Diego Dominguez, Pez; Ireland: Tries: Peter Stringer, John Kelly, David Humphreys, Brian O'Driscoll, Geordan Murphy; Cons: Humphreys 3; Pens: Humphreys 2
...Prop Peter "The Claw" Clohessy on a "trademark" attacking burst during the sides' 2002 clash at Lansdowne Road. The Irish won 32-17 in coach Eddie O'Sullivan's first game against the Azzurri. The visitors, under former All Blacks prop Brad Johnstone, proved sticky opponents - O'Sullivan commented afterwards: "It was a very physical game - the Italians' tackling was ferocious." David Humphreys kicked an opening penalty to become Ireland's record points scorer - debutant John Kelly (2) and Denis Hickie scored tries to help the home side to victory. The Italians were hampered by two yellow cards in the first half - props Salvatore Perugini and Gianpiero de Carli were both sent to the sin-bin by Scottish referee Rob Dickson. Perugini attempted a flying headbutt on Peter Stringer near his own try line, while de Carli got in trouble for swinging a wild right-hook at Clohessy - big mistake Gianpiero, big mistake! Although de Carli did gain a revenge of sorts by scoring a try late in the second half...
2002 6 NATIONS: March 23, 2002
IRELAND 32 ITALY 17, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: John Kelly 2, Denis Hickie; Con: Ronan O'Gara; Pens: O'Gara, David Humphreys 4; Italy: Tries: Mauro Bergamasco, Gianpiero de Carli; Cons: Diego Dominguez 2; Pen: Gert Peens
...Munster winger/centre John Kelly, playing on the right wing, dots downs one of his two debut tries in Ireland's 32-17 win in March 2002...
...Ireland hooker and captain Keith Wood is lifted high out of a ruck during the sides' 2001 meeting in Rome. Ireland won 41-22 in a game which will always be remember for the brilliant hat-trick of tries scored by centre Rob Henderson, whose performances in the 2001 6 Nations helped earn him a seat on the Lions plane to Australia that summer. It was Ireland's first win on Italian soil and first win in a 6 Nations opener since 1988 - Ronan O'Gara and Shane Horgan also touched down for the visitors with O'Gara ending his 80 minutes with a handsome tally of 21 points...
2001 6 NATIONS: February 3, 2001
ITALY 22 IRELAND 41, Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Scorers: Italy: Tries: Corrado Pilat, Carlo Checchinato, Mauro Bergamasco; Cons: Ramiro Pez 2; Pen: Pez; Ireland: Tries: Rob Henderson 3, Shane Horgan, Ronan O'Gara; Cons: O'Gara 2; Pens: O'Gara 4
....Then newcomers Ronan O'Gara (left) and Peter Stringer (right) chase a ball with Italian scrum half Alessandro Troncon during the sides' 2000 meeting at Lansdowne Road. It was Italy's first season in the 6 Nations Championship but Ireland, under Kiwi coach Warren Gatland, were in no mood for a welcoming party. The win also marked Ireland's first back-to-back triumphs in the Championship since 1993. Tries from Shane Horgan (2), Kieron Dawson, Brian O'Driscoll, skipper Keith Wood and Girvan Dempsey saw the Irish power to a then record 60-13 win. O'Gara, who only made his debut a fortnight previously against Scotland, also grabbed a then 6 Nations record personal haul of 30 points by landing 6 conversions and 6 penalties. England's Jonny Wilkinson pipped the Munster fly half in 2001 by scoring 35 points against Italy...
2000 6 NATIONS: March 4, 2000
IRELAND 60 ITALY 13, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Shane Horgan 2, Kieron Dawson, Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Wood, Girvan Dempsey; Cons: Ronan O'Gara 6; Pens: O'Gara 6; Italy: Try: Andrea De Rossi; Con: Diego Dominguez; Pens: Dominguez 2
...The scoreboard in the East Stand says it all...
...A neatly-coiffeured Alessandro Troncon is taken down by Ireland flanker Trevor Brennan during the sides' friendly meeting at Lansdowne Road in April 1999. The Irish had to battle hard to turn around a 23-11 half-time deficit as the Azzurri tried to impress in the lead-up to their entrance into the 6 Nations for the following season. Despite a stand-out performance from talismanic fly half Diego Dominguez, who kicked three conversions, a penalty and two drop goals, the visitors lost. Tries from Paddy Johns, Justin Bishop, Girvan Dempsey and Conor O'Shea (2) saw Ireland claim a 39-30 win...
1999 FRIENDLY: April 10, 1999
IRELAND 39 ITALY 30, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Paddy Johns, Justin Bishop, Girvan Dempsey, Conor O'Shea; Con: Eric Elwood; Pens: Elwood 4; Italy: Tries: Fabio Roselli, Walter Cristofoletto, Marco Baroni; Cons: Diego Dominguez 3; Pen: Dominguez; Drops: Dominguez 2
...A youthful looking Irish front row of (left-right): Peter Clohessy (then 31), Keith Wood (25) and Reggie Corrigan (27) face up to the Italians in Bologna in December 1997. It was Greystones prop Corrigan's first start in an Irish jersey but despite being level at 9-all at the break, Ireland ended up losing 37-22 to a powerful Italian side, built around brilliant number 10 Diego Dominguez, who scored 27 points (1 try, 2 conversions and 6 penalties) that afternoon...
1997 FRIENDLY: December 20, 1997
ITALY 37 IRELAND 22, Bologna
Scorers: Italy: Tries: Cristian Stoica, Corrado Pilat, Diego Dominguez; Cons: Dominguez 2; Pens: Domginez 6; ireland: Try: Darragh O'Mahony; Con: Eric Elwood; Pens: Elwood, David Humphreys 4
...Italy centre Stefano Bordon is lifted by his team mate Orazio Arancio (number 8) after Italy's 37-29 defeat of Ireland at Lansdowne Road on January 4, 1997. Ireland were very limited in attack that afternoon, scoring just one try through Ulster centre Jonny Bell, who was making his 17th start and scoring his second Test try in green. Paul Burke whacked over eight penalties to put a gloss on the scoreline...
1997 FRIENDLY: January 4, 1997
IRELAND 29 ITALY 37, Lansdowne Road
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Jonny Bell; Pens: Paul Burke 8; Italy: Tries: Paolo Vaccari 2, Diego Dominiguez, Massimo Cuttitta; Cons: Dominguez 4; Pens: Dominguez 3
**All photos by Inpho Photography**