12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Coach Eddie O'Sullivan felt that the turning point came in the opening half after his side had weathered an Italian storm. "We were under pressure there for a period when they nearly scored a try in the corner but I'd have to be very pleased with the way we defended and once we survived that, we then got those two late tries which gave us a great boost. It took us a bit of time to get going, we couldn't get any momentum, couldn't clear the rucks at ruck time. It was all a bit stop start. We did get into our stride before half time and as the game wore on we got into our rhythm and scored some good tries. I'm delighted for Denis (Hickie), he's been unlucky with injuries, it's been a long road back for him and he showed good form today."
"I thought we were sharper than the Welsh game. That's the second solid performance we given now with a team today that showed a lot of changes from the Welsh game. All in all I'd be happy with the way things are going."
He went to say that John Kelly had suffered a rib cartilage injury while Victor Costello injured a finger but the extent of those injuries would not be known until both received thorough medical examination.