DUBLIN — Ireland coach Declan Kidney refused to get carried away by Ireland’s 42-10 victory over Italy at Lansdowne Road on Saturday to claim their first win of this year’s Six Nations tournament and end a run of three successive home defeats. The Irish scored five tries — including two from Tommy Bowe — to Italy’s one to extend their run of Six Nations victories over the Italians to 13.
The comprehensive victory ensures they will travel with confidence to Paris for next Sunday’s rescheduled tie with France. “Some of the things we didn’t get right last time we got a bit better today, while other things need continual work,” claimed Kidney, “but every team is a work in progress. “We were a bit better today – than against Wales a 23-21 defeat earlier this month – the margins are quite small, but we took the opportunities that came our way. Against Wales, we didn’t take as many of them. But he cautioned: “you can’t let yourself get carried away with the scoreboard. Some days you could lose by five but be absolutely hammered, and other days you put up a good scoreline at the end, but after 70 minutes today it was only 30-10. “We can’t run away thinking we’re great just because we stole a couple of tries in the last few minutes.” Keith Earls scored Ireland’s opening try, and Kidney was impressed with the performance of the Munster player, who wore the no.13 shirt in place of the absent talismanic skipper and center Brian O’Driscoll. “He just carried on with the way he’s been playing for Munster this season,” said Kidney. “On the ball he was looking for gaps, and defensively he was good and solid too. It was a good day for him. “He’s still a young player and has achieved a lot early in his career. The more he plays the more comfortable he’ll get. He’s a great option for us to have there.” France are next up for Ireland, and with confidence coursing through the Irish team, Kidney is hopeful they can travel with more than just hope to a stadium that has been a graveyard for many Irish teams in the past and where they last won in 2000. “Today was a good day and now we have an eight day turn-around before we’re back in Paris which is always a singularly huge challenge,” he said.
“If we look beyond that, we’d already be half-beaten. We need to go there and give it a really good go. “I think the way the match finished today, that 12 points we got near the end will be handy in terms of points difference, but it’ll only matter if we can get a result next week. “France will be so much better too from having some extra time together and another match under their belts. It’ll be another great occasion.” Italy coach Jacques Brunel admitted his side had gone off the boil in the second-half. “We had two different teams out there. In the first half we tried to play and kept the score close,” said the Frenchman, whose side have lost all three games. “But in the second half it was completely different, we suffered beneath the Irish pressure and made many mistakes.”