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Italy beat Ireland for their first win in the 2024 Six Nations

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 31: Members of the Italy squad celebrate following the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between Ireland and Italy at RDS Arena on March 31, 2024 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Federugby/Federugby via Getty Images)

Italy got their first win in the 2024 Women’s Six Nations as they saw off an Irish comeback to take the 27-21 victory in round two.

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Tries in the first half from Vittoria Vecchini and Valeria Fedrighi put Italy ahead at the break with Ireland unable to put any points on the board apart from a penalty try after a promising opening ten minutes.

Italy had the first word in the second half as Vecchini scored her second, but Neve Jones replied to narrow the gap on the scoresheet.

Aura Muzzo went on to score the all-important fourth try to give the visitors the try bonus point and eventually, the win, but Katie Corrigan brought the scores to within six points as she intercepted an Italian pass to score Ireland’s third try.

A spirited final ten minutes from a tenacious Ireland side were not enough to overcome an experienced Italian team, but both sides took a bonus point from the match.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
Ireland Women's
21 - 27
Full-time
Italy Women's
All Stats and Data

Ireland had much of the attacking action early on and their pressure was rewarded with a penalty try in the seventh minute after a deliberate knock-on by Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, which saw the Italian fullback yellow-carded by referee Hollie Davidson.

While Ireland had enjoyed 90% of the possession in the opening ten minutes, fortunes changed in the next ten minutes as possession flipped to Italy having 77%, which led to their first try.

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Italy got on the scoresheet in the 24th minute through a powerful driving maul which guided Vecchini safely over the line, but Sale Sharks’ Beatrice Rigoni was unable to convert to level the scores.

A second try then followed for the visitors, this time after a strong leg-driving carry from Sara Tounesi moved them to within under a metre before Fedrighi spotted the smallest of gaps from the breakdown to dot the ball over the line, this time converted by Rigoni to give them a five-point lead with just over half an hour played.

Irish fullback Lauren Delany went down with a nasty-looking injury five minutes before the end of the half which put a pause on proceedings as she was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Nicole Fowley.

The Italians extended their lead through the boot of Rigoni after the pause to then give them the 15-7 lead at the break despite a bright start from Ireland.

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Ireland’s second half started with similar intensity to their first with Corrigan almost making it to the line after an Italy kick landed in Irish hands shirts in the first minute.

A brilliant break from Brittany Hogan moved Ireland within five metres, which then gave them the advantage from the passage of play that followed. Ireland worked across the field well after the resulting lineout, but Parsons knocked the ball on which spoiled what would have been an easy run in.

A scintillating break from Alyssa D’Inca sent Italy into the 22 to set up their next fruitful passage of attack, and it was Vecchini who scored their third try in the 56th minute after Italy managed to win the ball back from an Irish turnover to allow the hooker to power over for her second try of the match, again converted by Rigoni.

Ireland fought back to add their second try, much to the delight of the home crowd at the RDS Arena as Jones finished an excellent team try from a steamrolling green maul. With the conversion from Dannah O’Brien, Ireland were now within eight points.

Ilaria Arrighetti burst her way up to the line with a strong carry from the breakdown, but Muzzo’s subsequent score was chalked off as a forward pass stalled the Italian efforts for the bonus point.

Muzzo did eventually get on the scoresheet minutes later as Rigoni threw her the pass to score in the corner despite the best efforts of Corrigan and Higgins to bring her down, earning Italy the bonus point in the process from a well-worked attacking phase after a scrum.

A break from Parsons set up an opportunity for a third try for Ireland with four minutes left on the clock, but again a fumbled ball cost them in the red zone.

A moment of brilliance followed from Corrigan as she stole the interception from a pass from Rigoni which saw the 18-year-old stride her way to the line for a well-earned score, importantly placing the ball down under the posts to hand Ireland the bonus point after providing a simple conversion for O’Brien.

After the restart, now with the clock in the red, O’Brien kicked Ireland to the corner to set up a tense finish. Jones nestled her way into the back of the maul in search of a second try, but the ball eventually fell loose and Ireland were unable to string together enough to snatch the victory in the dying moments.

The result meant that Italy finished round two in third with five points, while Ireland found themselves in fifth with one point, above Wales in sixth on points difference.

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