Saturday, February 6, 2010


Italy v Ireland in Dublin

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Venue: Croke Park

Both teams will be without key players. The team affected less will be the winner on the day.

Italy are without their charismatic leader Sergio Parisse who is one of Europe's best number eights. One player does make a team but a team without one of its main cogs will struggle. They won't struggle in the tight. Italy has one of the best packs around. They will struggle in the loose and they will still struggle in the backs despite Nik Malletts latest injection of new/newer talent.

Ireland may also struggle up front. They are without lock forward Donncha O'Callaghan and loosie Denis Leamy. Two rookies will take their places. Kidney has taken a bit of a risk also in placing D'Arcy in instead of Grand Slam man Patrick Wallace. Ireland's advantage here is the greater depth they have and its this that will carry the day.

Last Five Encounters
15.02.2009 Ireland 38-9 in Rome (6 Nations)
02.02.2008 Ireland 16-11 in Dublin (6 Nations)
24.08.2007 Ireland 23-20 in Belfast (World Cup Warm up)
17.03.2007 Ireland 51-24 in Rome (6 Nations)
04.02.2006 Ireland 26-16 in Dublin (6 Nations)
Italy has never defeated Ireland since it joined the International Championship in 2000. Prior to that, Italy defeated Ireland 37-22 in Bologna, December 1997.

GWC Rugby Rankings:
World Table-Ireland 3rd, Italy 10th
Europe Table-Ireland 1st, Italy 6th

Prediction: I just can't see Italy getting near enough to Ireland. Ireland to win by 15 points.



15 Robert Kearney
14 Tommy Bowe
13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt.
12 Gordon D'Arcy
11 Andrew Trimble
10 Ronan O'Gara
9 Tomas O'Leary
8 James Heaslip
7 David Wallace
6 Kevin McLaughlin
5 Paul O'Connell
4 Leo Cullen
3 John Hayes
2 Jerry Flannery
1 Cian Healy.
16 Rory Best
17 Tom Court
18 Donncha Ryan
19 Sean O'Brien
20 Eoin Reddan
21 Patrick Wallace
22 Keith Earls
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

Three players will add to their test caps in the nineties. Veteran prop John Hayes will play his 98thtest, Brian O'Driscoll his 97th, whilst Ronan O'Gara plays his 94th. Kevin McLaughlin makes his test debut. On 929 points, Ronan O'Gara is closing in on the 1000 test points for Ireland.


15 Luke McLean
14 Kaine Robertson
13 Gonzalo Canale
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Mirco Bergamasco
10 Craig Gower
9 Tito Tebaldi
8 Alessandro Zanni
7 Mauro Bergamasco
6 Joshua Sole
5 Quintin Geldenhuys
4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, Capt.
1 Salvatore Perugini
16 Fabio Ongaro
17 Matias Aguero
18 Marco Bortolami
19 Paul Derbyshire
20 Simon Picone
21 Riccardo Bocchino
22 Andrea Masi
Head Coach: Nik Mallett

Bocchino, if he plays, will make his test debut.
Mauro Bergamasco will play his 80th test for Italy. He is only 3 tests away from Carlos Checchinato who played 83 tests between 1990 and 2004, and who lies in second place behind the great Troncon. If he plays, Marco Bortolami will not be far behind on 78 tests.

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