Live Commentary: Italy 22-15 Ireland - as it happened

Ireland's Paddy Jackson opens the scoring against Scotland during the Six Nations game on February 24, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage from the Six Nations as Italy host Ireland at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italy hosted Ireland on the final day of this year's Six Nations campaign at the Stadio Olimpico.

Both teams were looking to avoid the wooden spoon, so a win for either of these sides would guarantee that it is not them who finishes bottom of the pile.

The match may also have marked the occasion of Brian O'Driscoll's last-ever match for his country.

Ireland may still end up with the wooden spoon, as Italy surged to victory in Rome.

Read how it all unfolded below.


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2.07pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of Italy versus Ireland in the Six Nations.

2.08pmWhat a day we have in store, and it's not all about what is going on in Cardiff. There is still plenty to play for, whether it is to avoid the wooden spoon, or to try to earn a place in the British & Irish Lions squad.

2.09pmThis could also prove to be what many believe is Brian O'Driscoll's last appearance for Ireland, with retirement on the horizon. For that reason alone, the Irish will be desperate to send the legend out in style.

2.12pmMany also widely regard this as Declan Kidney's last match in charge of Ireland, having endured a miserable tournament. After holding out against Wales for victory in their opening match, the Irish have failed to win in their last three matches for the first time in their history. Many feel that Kidney's contract will not be extended, regardless of their result today, so this is a big game for him as well.

2.13pmItaly have had a mixed bag so far in the tournament. They got off to a brilliant start with a win over France, and were unlucky to get nothing from Twickenham last weekend. However, defeats to Scotland and Wales see them again scrapping at the bottom.

2.13pmTeam news coming up....

2.23pmApologies for the delay, we'll start with Italy.

2.23pmITALY XV: 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Gonzalo Canale, 12-Gonzalo Garcia, 11-Luke McLean, 10-Luciano Orquera, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3-Lorenzo Cittadini, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 5-Joshua Furno, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Simone Favaro, 8-Sergio Parisse

2.24pmITALY REPLACEMENTS 16-Davide Giazzon, 17-Michele Rizzo, 18-Alberto De Marchi, 19-Antonio Pavanello, 20-Francesco Minto, 21-Paul Derbyshire, 22-Tobias Botes, 23-Tommaso Benvenuti


2.24pmThe Italians make three changes to the side that almost rocked England’s Grand Slam hopes at Twickenham with Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni suffering from a thigh injury and being replaced by Lorenzo Cittadini. Simone Favaro comes in for the injured Robert Barbieri, while the final change sees veteran Andrea Lo Cicero preferred to Alberto De Marchi at loose-head.

2.25pmBoth teams are out and ready for the national anthems. In the meantime, here is the Ireland lineup.

2.26pmIRELAND XV: 15-Rob Kearney, 14-Craig Gilroy, 13-Brian O'Driscoll, 12-Luke Marshall, 11-Keith Earls, 10-Paddy Jackson, 9-Conor Murray; 1-Cian Healy, 2-Rory Best, 3-Mike Ross, 4-Mike McCarthy, 5-Donnacha Ryan, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 7-Sean O'Brien, 8-Jamie Heaslip.

2.26pmIRELAND REPLACEMENTS: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-David Kilcoyne, 18-Stephen Archer, 19-Devin Toner, 20-Iain Henderson, 21-Paul Marshall, 22-Ian Madigan, 23-Luke Fitzgerald

2.28pmSo O'Driscoll starts what could be his last appearance for Ireland. Today marks his 125th cap.

2.29pmIreland have won their last 17 matches against the Italians, including all 13 previous Six Nations clashes. Italy's last win against Ireland was a 37-22 victory in Bologna back in December 1997. They have never beaten the Irish in Rome.

2.30pmThe start is imminent...

0 minAnd we're off!

1 minIreland get the first lineout of the match and safely retain the ball as they look to build ground forward.

2 minIreland are awarded an early penalty of the halfway as Italy as found guilty of holding. Paddy Jackson's kick puts the away side in the Azzurri 22.

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3 minIreland waste the lineout. Best's throw beats everyone, and Italy try to break. They are thwarted on arrival into the Irish half. Ireland now have their own chance to drive forward.

4 minIreland are awarded a penalty as the advantage is pulled back for an earlier knock on. This should be easy points for Paddy Jackson, it's about 20 metres out.

6 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 0-3 Ireland (Paddy Jackson)

6 minEasy for Jackson. It's a great start for Ireland, they are in front early on.

8 minIreland are awarded a penalty from the scrum after Italy are punished for early engagement. The Irish work it forward towards the Italy posts, but Luke McLean managers to clear the danger.

10 minIreland put a good kick into touch, high up into the Italy half. Te Azzurri will have the lineout about 10 yards from their own posts.

10 minThey win it, and Orquera boots the ball into touch. Ireland have done well in the opening 10 minutes of this match.

11 minItaly are awarded a penalty, giving them a chance to get out of their own half. Orquera hooks it into touch, and the Azzurri have the lineout of the halfway line.

12 minAnother huge kick from Orquera off that lineout. Italy enter the Ireland 22 for the first time. The Stadio Olimpico comes to life.

13 minItaly win the lineout and drive the maul forward. They're fractions from the line!

13 minItaly have a penalty after Ireland are deemed to not be letting go in the maul by English referee Wayne Barnes. This should draw the hosts level.

14 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 3-3 Ireland (Luciano Orquera)

14 minRoutine kick for Orquera, Italy are level and right back in the match.


16 minIreland have a lineout, which they again give straight to Italy. The Italians are putting the Irish under real pressure in Rome. Ireland's lineouts have been poor so far.

18 minItaly are awarded a penalty in the Ireland half. The hosts are going for the posts from the 10 metre.

20 minIt's off the post! Orquera comes so close. Huge let off for Ireland who can now attack.

21 minThe Italian national anthem is in full flow around the stadium. Orquera has the chance to put Italy ahead from another penalty.

22 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 6-3 Ireland (Luciano Orquera)

22 minGreat kick from Orquera, it's two from three for him. And Italy lead for the first time.

23 minItaly are really having a go at Ireland here. The visitors are on the ropes.

24 minIreland can breath a sigh of relief as they are awarded a penalty for a knock on. Italy drive forward and show neat hands as they smash their way to the 22. However, their passes along the line are of poor quality, and the Irish take the decision.

25 minThere is a break in play as Keith Earls is taken off in some pain. Could be a dislocated shoulder. Luke Fitzgerald is on in his place for the Irish.

27 minThe Ireland injuries keep on coming, and Luke Marshall isn't looking to happy at the moment. He is down as play goes on.

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27 minIreland are awarded a penalty just inside the Italy half. Marshall is heading off by the way, with Ian Madigan coming on.

28 minJackson is going for the points with this penalty.

29 minJackson's kick floats to the right of the posts. Not a great last few minutes for the Irish. Italy still lead 6-3.

30 minSIN BIN! (Brian O'Driscoll)

31 minThe unthinkable has happened, as Mr. Ireland is given 10 minutes of the sidelines for knee his opponent while on the ground. Can't argue with the decision.

31 minItaly are well on top, and with the extra man, have a great chance to go for the try before the break. Italy commit a forward pass as they drive forward.

32 minItaly are pushing Ireland here, and they have numbers out wide, but it is dropped at a critical time and Ireland are given a penalty.

33 minThey're dropping like flies, as Luke Fitzgerald goes down in agony. It looks as if his calf is causing him grief. It is not going to plan for Declan Kidney.

33 minFitzgerald is going to carry on....the tough guy.

34 minItaly win the scrum, and they could drive it forward here.

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35 minPenalty to Italy! Ireland are overpowered by the Azzurri and concede the decision after collapsing the scrum. Orquera territory.

36 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 9-3 Ireland (Gonzalo Garcia)

37 minGarcia is given the nod for the kick, and he smashes it between the posts from near enough the halfway line. Brilliant from him, and Italy finally add to their lead.

39 minIreland are desperate for the half-time whistle. They have players all over the place, playing out of position due to injuries. O'Driscoll's return is close though.

40 minPeter O'Mahony is temporarily down for Ireland as well. It just doesn't stop for them.

40 minIreland have been awarded a penalty after their was no advantage from the move. If they can reduce the deficit to three points with the last kick of the half, they would be delighted.

40+1 minJackson is going to take the kick. The crowd are incensed as Canale goes down clutching his face.

40+1 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 9-6 Ireland (Paddy Jackson)

3.19pmHALF TIME: Italy 9-6 Ireland

3.20pmNo mistake from Jackson as his kick is good. Massive coup for Ireland to get into the break just three behind. But with their injuries and other factors, they have been dominated in the first half.

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3.27pmItaly will be very disappointed that they have failed to score a try. They have had the vast majority of the play, and have dominated in the scrum and lineouts.

3.32pmThe teams are back out here.

40 minAnd we're back underway.

41 minSo Ireland have it all to do in this second half.

42 minWhat a start for Italy. After winning an early lineout, Masi pumps a huge kick into the Ireland half, Kearney drops the catch into touch.

44 minItaly build from the lineout and pass it swiftly along the line. However, Ireland are awarded the lineout following an Italy knock on.

45 minItaly win the lineout and are just metres from the try line. Massive chance for the hosts here.

46 minOrquera's grubber kick causes havoc in the Ireland end zone, but Kearney touched it down which results in a five-metre scrum.

48 minItaly are ridiculously close here. Must be a score.

49 minThere is a pile of bodies on the line as the referee blows his whistle. It's going to the TV.


49 minTRY! Italy 14-6 Ireland (Giovanbattista Venditti)

50 minIt's given and it's the right call. Venditti is the man who scored it, finally the breakthrough for the Italians.

51 minCONVERSION SUCCESSFUL! Italy 16-6 Ireland (Luciano Orquera)

51 minEasy for Orquera, and Italy have a 10-point lead.

52 minSIN BIN! (Sergio Parisse)

53 minParisse is shown the yellow for tripping. Penalty to Ireland.

54 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 16-9 Ireland (Paddy Jackson)

54 minFrantic few minutes in Rome. Jackson does it again through for Ireland.

56 minIreland are awarded another penalty. They will go for the posts from the halfway line. Jackson scored twice from this range last weekend.

58 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 16-12 Ireland (Paddy Jackson)

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58 minThey are right back in it now! Cool, calm and collected, Jackson places the ball in between the sticks from miles out. Superb.

59 minItaly still have Parisse off remember, Ireland have a huge chance here.

60 minIreland take a free kick quickly, they are keen to make the most of the time they have left with an extra man.

61 minThis is better from Ireland, they are into the Italy 22, with O'Driscoll, Madigan and Jackson making huge strides forward.

62 minWe're into the 17th phase. Italy holding out for a turnover.

63 minItaly concede a penalty but will be delighted to have kept out the Irish. Brilliant defending from them, as Gori is offside and gifts Ireland the penalty. Difficult decision for the Irish here.

63 minParisse is back on the field. Ireland will go for the posts with this penalty.

64 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 16-15 Ireland (Paddy Jackson)

64 minJust a point in this now, no mistake from Jackson.

65 minAndrea Lo Cicero comes off for Italy. The Azzurri's record appearance holder has tears in his eyes as he comes off the field in his final match for the Italians.

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65 minEdoardo Gori is taken out accidentally in the air. It looks horrendous, very, very painful one. He is on his feet, though.

67 minItaly have a penalty and it will be Gonzalo Garcia, who landed a huge kick in the first half, to take it.

67 minIt's short and wide to the right. Still just one point in it.

68 minWhat a tense final 12 minutes we are going to have.

69 minItaly have been given a penalty, Orquera is back on kicking duty.

70 minSIN BIN! (Donnacha Ryan)

70 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 19-15 Ireland (Luciano Orquera)

71 minAwesome penalty from Orquera. Not sure why Ryan was sin binned for Ireland but they now have a mountain the climb.

71 minItaly have been awarded another penalty following the scrum, they will put the ball out of touch and build ground.

72 minRemember, should Ireland lose then they could end up with the wooden spoon. All depending on France's battle with Scotland later.

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73 minJust seen that Ryan was shown the yellow card for a horribly late challenge. They could do with him now, as the teams prepare to scrum it down.

76 minAfter a good scrum Murray clears inside his 22. But it screws off his left boot and Italy have a lineout just inside their opponents' half. They win that set piece. Another wild pass from Parisse is knocked on. He's not had his best performance today. Nowhere near the heights of last weekend, anyway.

77 minJust three minutes for Ireland to rescue this.

79 minSIN BIN! (Conor Murray)

80 minMurray is sent to sin bin for tripping an Italian when trying to retrieve the ball. Ireland down to 13.

80 minItaly put the ball into touch and look to shut the game out from the lineout.

80 minRyan's sin bin time is up, Ireland back to 14 men but that surely won't be enough.

80 minPenalty to Italy! It's inside the 22, and that looks to be it. Surely a second home win of the Six Nations for Italy and a first-ever win in this competition over Ireland.

80+1 minPENALTY SCORED! Italy 22-15 Ireland (Luciano Orquera)

80+1 minFULL TIME: Italy 22-15 Ireland


4.23pmThat's it, Italy win and thoroughly deserve it. That could be the last time we see O'Driscoll in the green of Ireland, and maybe the last time we see Declan Kidney is charge.

4.23pmThanks for joining me, be sure to stick with Sports Mole as we have Wales versus England in just a moment.

Declan Kidney
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