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Match Tracker: Italy 24 Ireland 51

Match Tracker: Italy 24 Ireland 51

Ireland ended the 2007 Six Nations and crowned St. Patrick’s Day with an eight-try 51-24 victory over Italy, but it was still not enough for Eddie O’Sullivan’s side to secure a long-awaited championship title as France swept the Scots aside in Paris.

2007 RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, March 17

ITALY 24 IRELAND 51, Stadio Flaminio (Att: 24,973)

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Scorers: Italy: Tries: Marco Bortolami, Roland De Marigny; Con: Andrea Scanavacca; Pens: Ramiro Pez 2; Drops: Pez 2
Ireland: Tries: Girvan Dempsey 2, Simon Easterby, Gordon D’Arcy, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie 2, Ronan O’Gara; Cons: O’Gara 4; Pen: O’Gara

Full-Time – Italy 24 Ireland 51 – just two hours after Ireland’s win in Rome and their hopes of a first title since 1985 have been dashed. Elvis Vermeulen’s injury-time try helped France to a 46-19 victory over Scotland and that was enough for Bernard Laporte’s team to take the championship. For the second year running, Ireland have lost the championship on points difference – France 8 points and +69 to the men in green’s 8 points and +65.

80+3 mins: ITALY TRY! Italy get over for what could be a crucial try in the context of the championship race – full-back De Marigny touches down in the right corner after a quick turnover. Scanavacca converts and it is full-time in the Eternal city. Now attentions turn to Paris for the France v Scotland game. Italy 24 Ireland 51.

79 mins: Tireless centre D’Arcy has been named as the RBS man of the match. Meanwhile, Horan is back on for the final few minutes, replacing Best.

77 mins: IRELAND TRY! Ireland incredibly hit back with another try – it is Hickie again, that is a 29th international try for the Leinster winger, drawing him level in the Irish try-scoring charts with his good friend O’Driscoll. He showed searing pace to take a pass from Horgan and scorch over to the left of the posts. O’Gara converts. Italy 17 Ireland 51.

75 mins: ITALY TRY! Italian captain Bortolami leaps above Hickie to take a crossfield kick and he plunges over for a deserved try. Scanavacca narrowly misses the conversion. Italy 17 Ireland 46.

72 mins: Superb covering from Stringer as he gets back to touch down a Troncon kick through, but the Munster scrum half was ruled to have brought the ball over the try line.

70 mins: Ireland have been on the back foot for the past few minutes, but the defensive effort has been unstinting, especially at scrum time in the second half, and Hickie clears his lines, bringing play up towards the halfway line.

66 mins: Changes aplenty for both sides – into the fray for Ireland comes Simon Best who is on for Marcus Horan at loosehead prop.

63 mins: Ireland make a change at hooker with Jerry Flannery on for Rory Best.

61 mins: O’Driscoll has injured his leg, it looks like his hamstring, and the skipper will sit out the closing twenty minutes. Andrew Trimble is on. Mick O’Driscoll has also been forced off with an injury and Trevor Hogan is on to win his first Six Nations cap.

59 mins: IRELAND TRY! O’Gara gets over for his fourth try of the tournament after some excellent play by D’Arcy, who broke through the cover initially, and O’Driscoll. Stringer took it on, the ball was knocked on by Italy and O’Gara kicked it forward and won the race to touch down. The number 10 converts. Italy 12 Ireland 46.

55 mins: IRELAND TRY! Hickie gets over for his 28th try and the margin is growing – a great bust forward by Wallace – with the Irish forwards powering through – sets up ruck position and a lovely, long floated pass by O’Gara sends Hickie darting over to the right of the posts. O’Gara adds the extras. Italy 12 Ireland 39.

52 mins: IRELAND TRY! Ireland have Italy on the rack as Hickie sends a sweet pass out to the right for Horgan to cross for his 20th try. O’Gara narrowly fails with the conversion attempt. Italy 12 Ireland 32.

50 mins: O’Driscoll just misses out on a try as O’Gara’s delightful chip through seems tailor made for the skipper to score but the ball falls to sit up and Troncon and De Marigny force O’Driscoll to knock on as he tries to gather possession.

46 mins: IRELAND TRY! A lovely move, started by O’Driscoll running back a Troncon kick, ends with Dempsey getting over for his second try of the afternoon. O’Driscoll presented the ball well, Italy infringed and D’Arcy took a quick tap. The next phase led to O’Gara sending Dempsey racing in under the posts. O’Gara, after taking an injury time-out, converted. Italy 12 Ireland 27.

44 mins: Dangerous stuff from Ireland as Troncon almost puts Robertson over for a try in the right corner but Hickie intercepts the pass and puts boot to ball, initiating a foot race which the recovering Mirco Bergamasco just wins.

43 mins: A Best lineout throw is ruled not straight and the Italians have an early purple patch. They maul forward, exerting good control through their forwards and an Irish knock on gives the hosts decent scrum position inside the Irish 22.

Second Half: Kick-Off- Replacement Andrea Scanavacca, who is on for Pez, restarts for Italy. Denis Leamy gathers in the ball for Ireland. O’Gara clears to the ten-metre line.

Half-Time – Italy 12 Ireland 20

40 mins: IRELAND TRY! Ireland attack off a midfield scrum, O’Gara picks a pass up off his boot laces, linking with Hickie who finds O’Driscoll and the skipper’s midfield partner D’Arcy hares onto the ball, bypassing the tackle of Robertson and muscling over past Roland De Marigny for his fourth Test try. However TV replays show two forward passes in the build-up to the try. With the last kick of the half, O’Gara converts to give the Irish an eight-point buffer for the second period. Italy 12 Ireland 20.

37 mins: Pez misses a lengthy penalty attempt, drawing his kick just to the right of the posts. The chance came after obstruction in an Irish maul.

34 mins: Ireland opt to kick a penalty to touch, showing their intent and with the wind swirling around to back both sides. There is still a lack of control at the Irish set piece, Best’s throw is missed by O’Driscoll and the chance is lost as a subsequent penalty is kicked to touch by Pez, getting his forwards back on the front foot.

32 mins: Hickie runs the ball out of the Irish 22, drawing in two players for Horgan to slice through the Italian line and Ireland make good yardage before the attack falters near the Italian 22. A lovely backhanded pass from Wallace to Rory Best is the highlight of the move.

29 mins: ITALY DROP GOAL! The home side get a good platform to attack from, with the pack mauling forward and Sergio Parisse in barnstorming form. Troncon flings the ball back for Pez to brilliantly execute his second drop goal. Italy 12 Ireland 13.

26 mins: ITALY PENALTY! Pez slots over from a position to the left of the posts to nudge Italy to within four points. Ireland still need to settle, despite scoring the two tries. Italy 9 Ireland 13.

21 mins: IRELAND TRY! Great team try scored by Easterby – his seventh Test try. It all began with the Italians surprisingly losing control at a scrum on the Irish 22. David Wallace then made a clean break off the back of a ruck and linked with Easterby before he put Horgan into plenty of space on the right flank. He drew his man and offloaded superbly for the Llanelli-based flanker to cross in at the right corner. O’Gara just fails with the conversion attempt. Italy 6 Ireland 13.

17 mins: IRELAND TRY! Dempsey gets over in the left corner for his 16th Test try and a much-needed one for Ireland. Gordon D’Arcy made the incision in the Italian line, then Hickie and Brian O’Driscoll linked before the supporting Dempsey was put over by the Irish captain’s deft pass. O’Gara’s conversion attempt drifts away to the right from a difficult angle. Italy 6 Ireland 8.

15 mins: ITALY PENALTY! Simon Easterby infringes as he holds onto the ball on the ground and Pez lines up a shot at the posts from 40 metres out. He is successful and the Azzurri take the lead. Italy 6 Ireland 3.

12 mins: ITALY DROP GOAL! Great work from the dancing Robertson, who jinked in from his right wing station, and continuity from Troncon and the Italian pack leads to a well-taken drop goal from Pez. The sides are level. Italy 3 Ireland 3.

9 mins: ‘The Fields’ rings out around the Stadio Flaminio. Plenty of encouragement from the travelling support, which is reportedly close to 17,000.

8 mins: Error from Pez as he kicks the ball dead and Ireland win a scrum back in midfield. More possession for the visitors and Italy are ruled to have gone over the top at a ruck.

6 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! O’Gara drifts the penalty in from the right, close to the Italian 22-metre line, as the Irish take an early lead. Italy 0 Ireland 3.

4 mins: Italy are forced into an early change as flanker Maurizio Zaffiri is off with a leg injury. Josh Sole is on. Some big hits on Girvan Dempsey and Peter Stringer but Ireland recycle the ball well and show good hands, earning a penalty.

2 minutes: Best’s second lineout throw, after Mirco Bergamasco had kicked to touch, is good and Ireland get ball in hand for the first time. The Azzurri snaffle the ball at a ruck and Troncon’s kick has Denis Hickie on the retreat as he is forced to defend under pressure from Kaine Robertson.

First Half: Kick-Off – Ronan O’Gara gets the game underway. Sergio Parisse takes and the ball is recycled for Ramiro Pez to clear. It is a poor kick to touch but Rory Best’s first throw is gobbled up by Italian skipper Marco Bortolami.

1.33pm: Slightly delayed, the 14th ever meeting between Ireland and Italy – the Irish have won ten, the Italians three – is about to get underway.

1.31pm: Rousing renditions of both anthems – ‘Ireland’s Call’ was certainly belted out by both the team and supporters – and kick-off is inching ever closer. The warm temperatures see a number of the players taking a bit of extra water on board before the start.

1.28pm: The teams, led by their respective captains Marco Bortolami and Brian O’Driscoll, are out on the pitch. O’Driscoll led the visitors out first, climbing the stairs up to pitch-level for a record 37th game as captain. He beats the previous mark of 36 set by Keith Wood, who is analysing the game for the BBC today.

Pre-Match: Hello and welcome to the Stadio Flaminio for IrishRugby.ie’s coverage of today’s Six Nations clash between Italy and Ireland. Sit tight as Eddie O’Sullivan’s side go for their fourth win in this year’s championship and a big winning margin to put the pressure on defending champions France who are top of the table on points scored – plus four.

You can also click on our MatchDayLive link at the bottom of the homepage for score updates and audio coverage.

ITALY: Roland De Marigny; Kaine Robertson, Ezio Galon, Mirco Bergamasco, Matteo Pratichetti; Ramiro Pez, Alessandro Troncon; Salvatore Perugini, Carlo Festuccia, Carlos Nieto, Santiago Dellape, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alessandro Zanni, Maurizio Zaffiri, Sergio Parisse.

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Fabio Staibano, Valerio Bernabo, Josh Sole, Paul Griffen, Andrea Scanavacca, Matteo Barbini.

IRELAND: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll (capt), Gordon D’Arcy, Denis Hickie; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Rory Best, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Simon Easterby, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.

Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Simon Best, Trevor Hogan, Neil Best, Eoin Reddan, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)