Ireland Sweep Past Italy To Maintain Perfect Six Nations Start

Six Nations 2018 rivals England and Ireland

Six Nations 2018 rivals England and Ireland

There is talk that if any side is to deny defending champions England an unprecedented hat-trick of Six Nations titles, it will be Joe Schmidt's men.

Ireland play Wales in round three next weekend, while Italy face France.

Ireland are now on an nine-game winning streak and have won 12 of their last 14 matches.

Henshaw sustained the injury in scoring his second try in Saturday's eight-try 56-19 victory over Italy in Dublin.

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He wore the Arsenal shirt 143 times between 2006-09 before later switching to Spurs , where he played 106 games between 2011-2015. Petr Cech could be the only exception if the same team features in the North London Derby after going off injured last weekend.

The changes are all in the pack, with Luca Bigi is in for Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker, Nicola Quaglio at loosehead replacing Andrea Lovotti and Braam Steyn at openside in for Renato Giammarioli.

"I don't know if it'll come back and bite us in the arse come the end of the tournament from a points differential point of view, but I'm sure Andy Farrell would have been saying the goal at half time was to give them zero at the end of it".

The Italians were left shell-shocked when Bundee Aki crashed over to mark the 27-year-old New Zealand-born centre's first try for his adopted country leaving the Irish just one try short of their bonus point aim with only 20 minutes gone.

Ireland made their intent clear early on as Johnny Sexton went for touch instead of the posts, but the Italians managed to hold Conor Murray up as he crossed the line.

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He was leading the pack until the third and final run, when Team USA's Red Gerard pulled off a shocking upset to win gold. Canadian Max Parrot, who had fallen on each of his first two runs, then nailed his final run for the silver medal.

Furlong wasn't the only one to fall victim to proceedings, Robbie Henshaw, who scored a brace of tries, had to go off after his second try and Ireland's fifth of the game.

Rory Best got in on the act with Jacob Stockdale taking his Ireland tally to six tries from seven outings, with Joey Carbery adding the extras to all three.

"I think it is always nice when you get a compliment from an opposition captain, but ultimately we will look at this game and see there are a lot of things that we can do a lot better, especially in the second half", said Best.

Stockdale soon had his second and Ireland's eighth before Italy grabbed a third late on through Matteo Minozzi.

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