Ireland racked up another huge home win over Italy, scoring six tries in a 36-0 hammering on Sunday that kept the defending champions on course for unprecedented back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations.
Hooker Dan Sheehan went over twice, along with tries for flyhalf Jack Crowley, No. 8 Jack Conan and wingers James Lowe and Calvin Nash in a happy homecoming for the Irish, who hadn’t played at Lansdowne Road since before last year’s Rugby World Cup.
A 19th win in 20 home test matches against the Azzurri came a week after a 38-17 victory over France that immediately set Ireland on the road to another potential clean sweep in the northern hemisphere tournament.
Ireland put at least 50 points on Italy in their previous four Six Nations meetings in Dublin and was 19-0 up by halftime on Sunday, with Crowley opening the scoring in the seventh minute by finishing off down the right in a well-worked move.
Sheehan was fed by center Stuart McCloskey before going over in the left corner in the 24th and Conan wriggled over from close range in the 37th to leave Ireland close to a bonus point.
That arrived after a lineout in the 50th through Sheehan, who also had a try against France.
Lowe sidestepped through two challengers for the fifth try in the 62nd and fellow winger Nash rounded off the scoring in the 78th.
“We’re happy enough and we got what we wanted in the game with a bonus-point win,” Ireland coach Andy Farrell said. “Keeping them to zero is very pleasing and there were some nice tries out there and some nice performances by individuals.
“I thought we were trying to be too tidy at times, just playing with shape when we broke them down with a bit of individual brilliance. We need to back ourselves a little bit more as far as that is concerned.”
Italy opened with a 27-24 loss at home to England.
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