JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Ireland down Italy to reach World Cup quarter-final

Date

Ireland 36 Italy 6

Keith Earls touches down dramatically. Click for more photos

Clinical Ireland see off Italy in style

Ireland smash Italy to top their Pool for the first time in their World Cup history. They blasted the Italians away in the second-half by three tries to zero, and go through to a quarter final with old enemies Wales. Photo: Reuters

Ireland advanced into the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a crushing 36-6 victory over Italy in their winner-takes-all clash at the Otago Stadium here Sunday.

MATCH STATS

Pool C winners Ireland will now face old rivals Wales in the knockout phase in Wellington on Saturday with Italy, in what was coach Nick Mallett's last game in charge, left searching for a first World Cup quarter-final appearance.

The win saw Ireland atone for their failure to reach the last eight in France four years ago and meant they capitalised on their shock 15-6 win over Australia earlier in the pool -- a result that would have gone to waste had Italy won this match.

Ireland were 12-6 up early in the second half when, within a matter of minutes, they put the result of what some had thought would be a close game beyond doubt with two tries -- a reward for besting Italy up front and having far more threatening backs.

Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland captain, crossed in the 47th minute after taking a pass from Tommy Bowe who, coming across from right wing to left, sliced through the Italian defence before delivering a well-timed inside pass to the centre.

And four minutes later left wing Keith Earls, 24 on Sunday, marked his birthday by finishing a sweeping move with a try in the far corner after good work by centre Gordon D'Arcy and blindside flanker Stephen Ferris.

Ronan O'Gara, who landed six out of seven placekicks for a match haul of 16 points before being replaced by rival fly-half Jonathan Sexton, a less reliable goalkicker, duly landed the conversion.

Ireland were now 26-6 in front and well on their way to a 16th successive Test win over Italy, whom they only beat 13-11 in this season's Six Nations thanks to O'Gara's late drop-goal in Rome in February.

Sexton added a penalty but by then the damage, led by lock Paul O'Connell in a fine Irish pack effort, had been done.

Bowe just failed, according to the video referee to touch down by the Italy posts in the final minute after the ball was hacked down field, as a brawl broke out near the Irish line.

But there was still time for Earls to set the seal on Ireland's victory with his second try, converted by Sexton, after the Irish ran the ball back the 22 drop-out.

Ireland dominated territory in the early stages while their pack kept pace with Italy's much vaunted scrum, which former Springbok boss Mallett had said was key to the Azzurri's hopes of victory.

But at half-time they were only 9-6 in front after a forward-dominated first half saw O'Gara kick three penalties to Mirco Bergamasco's two.

The Irish thought they had the game's first try when impressive openside flanker Sean O'Brien released Bowe in the 31st minute.

But South African referee Jonathan Kaplan disallowed the score for a forward pass to the audible disappointment of the massed ranks of Ireland fans in a near capacity 28,027 crowd at the indoor arena.

When O'Gara made it 9-6 five minutes before the interval, Ireland also had the satisfaction of seeing powerhouse prop Martin Castrogiovanni, the anchorman of Italy's scrum, limp off the field and out of the match.

IRELAND 36 (Keith Earls 2, Brian O’Driscoll tries Ronan O’Gara 2, Jonny Sexton cons O’Gara 4, Sexton pens) bt ITALY 6 (Mirco Bergamasco 2 pens) at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan. Crowd: 28,027.

AFP

Related Coverage

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

HuffPost Australia

Featured advertisers