Ireland through to the quarter finals
Ireland overcame Italy in an uninspiring match in the Olympic Stadium to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. The highlight of the match was Munster player Keith Earls becoming Ireland’s all-time top try scorer.
Keith Earl’s record breaking try came in the 18th minute, following a lineout steal from the impressive Peter O’Mahony. This was Earl’s eighth try in as many matches. He scored thanks to some great interplay between Jonathan Sexton and Robbie Henshaw which put the Irish 10-3 up.
The Italians, who knew this was a must win game, fought back and brought the score back to 10-9 thanks to two Tommaso Allan penalties, one per half. It was this indiscipline that frustrated many Irish viewers and nearly proved to be the undoing for Joe Schmidt’s men.
The match was won in the end by some stellar individual displays, particularly from Iain Henderson, who was awarded the man-of-the-match award, and Peter O’Mahony, who was given the yellow card.
The Italians played one of the best games in their recent history and could be considered unlucky to lose. Their performance surprised many after their struggles against France and Canada.
Despite this somewhat dour performance, Ireland are still ranked among the favourites to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup with odds around 8/1. Many sports betting websites tip them to push the favourites New Zealand, Australia and South Africa for the title.
Ireland certainly have a few things to address before their next match against France. Joe Schmidt will look to improve the way his team holds onto the ball after their poor performance against Italy.
It is also expected that Rob Kearney will return to his usual full-back position while the much missed Jared Payne will return to the midfield.