Italy’s  Tommaso Allan of Italy looks to release the backs during the  World Cup Pool D match against France  at Twickenham Stadium. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

The old adage that ‘if you have a reputation for getting up early you can stay in bed all day,’ is one to which the Italian backs might subscribe g(...)

Gonzalo Garcia of Italy goes over for a try during the  Rugby World Cup Pool D match against  Canada at Elland Road  in Leeds. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Italy 23 Canada 18 Italy squeaked past a determined and inventive Canada at Elland Road to keep alive their hopes in Pool D at the Rugby World Cup. T(...)

Acting Italy captain Leonardo Ghiraldini believes it will be tough to beat Canada. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Italy v Canada, Elland Rd, Saturday, 2.30 (TV3, ITV) The most pertinent aspect of the build-up to this match from an Irish perspective is that (...)

Sergio Parisse faces a battle to return to fitness for the start of the Rugby World Cup after undergoing an operation to removed fluid from his left leg. Photograph: Getty

Italy talisman Sergio Parisse faces a World Cup fitness fight after having fluid drained from his left leg. The Stade Francais number eight had an ope(...)

Matt Healy crosses to score one of Connacht’s tries in their 40-10 win over Zebre in Parma. Photograph: Inpho

Zebre 10 Connacht 40 Connacht live to fight another day for Champions Cup qualification after a comprehensive victory over Zebre at Stadio Serg(...)

The Azzurri stand for the Italian national anthem. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

You have to admire Warren Gatland’s chutzpah. No doubt he rubs up some people the wrong way, but this, of course, is also part of the plan. Unveiling (...)

France’s Hugo Bonneval scores a debut try against Italy. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

France 30 Italy 10Eight days after edging past England in their Six Nations opener, France made it two from two at the Stade de France as they scored (...)

Ulster’s Michael Allen is tackled by Gonzalo Garcia and Roberto Quartaroli of Zebre during the RaboDirect Pro 12 game at Stadio XXV Aprile. Photograph:  Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Zebre 11 Ulster 19: Paddy Jackson kicked 14 points and played a part in Darren Cave’s try as Ulster beat Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile and move into (...)

 Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Kameli Ratuvou of Zebre. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht 25 Zebre 16: Pat Lam’s stewardship of Connacht began on a positive note as they swept Zebre aside for an opening RaboDirect PRO12 win at the(...)

Ireland’s Brian O'Driscoll sits on the sideline after being sin-binned in the first half of the game against Italy   at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ireland succumbed to a first defeat to Italy in the Six Nations after an indisciplined afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico when the injury jinx th(...)