Six Nations talking points: Garry Ringrose has his mojo back
Catt gets his claws into Ireland’s attack, James Ryan leads by example on return
Garry Ringrose impressed for Ireland, scoring a try during the win over Italy in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/Getty/AFP
Garry Ringrose has his mojo back
Gerry Ringrose has found his mojo. Whether it was Mike Catt or Andy Farrell who whispered in his ear, Ringrose is back to the hungry, attack-minded runner, so good at finding space where there appears to be none. Confident and willing, his best traits are those offensive instincts. It was a poor Italian side but his burst through two players, the centre and left wing, for his try was full of confidence. Ringrose will want to bring the same attitude to Ireland’s next match against Scotland, who have a real find in 21-year-old centre, Cameron Redpath.
Catt gets his claws into Irish attack
After Italy is Mike Catt still under pressure? Was there more nuanced play and less of the bish, bash pick and go with one-off runners? A bonus-point win was the target against a weak team. But there was an improvement in Ireland’s tempo, their willingness to attack space and their efforts to get hands free to offload in the tackle to runners on their shoulder. Jordan Larmour’s offload to Will Connors and the Garry Ringrose offload for Hugo Keenan’s try were nice to see executed well and also paid off in spades with the two scores.
Italy can’t make stats count
Although Ireland won the match with six tries the numbers coming from the Six Nations statistics office favoured the Italians in a number of areas. Although Ireland had most possession with 51 per cent to 49 per cent, Italy had more territory, 60 per cent to Ireland’s 40 per cent. Italy also had 57 per cent of the possession in Ireland’s half while Ireland had just 38 per cent possession in Italy’s half. Italy also spent seven minutes and 51 seconds in their own half while Ireland spent 11 minutes and 52 seconds in their own half.
Johnny Sexton in the groove
It was good to see him playing for the whole match and landing all of his kicks, the last for a conversion after Earls' try on 80 minutes. Sexton played well and far from staying out of trouble after his injuries was in the thick of it, taking on ball and making big tackles on the Italian forwards. There were no outbursts from the Irish captain except for a slapped hand on the grass when Italy scored a try just before half-time. And he was right. It was soft. A smart clearance kick at the end rounded off a good day for the outhalf.
James Ryan leads by example
The Irish lock made 19 tackles in the game, more than any other player. The closest anyone came to equaling Ryan was Michele Lamaro, the Italian number 8, who weighed in with 18, while Italy captain and hooker Luca Bigi racked up 16 hits. For Ireland, Will Connors came closest with 14 tackles with Robbie Henshaw by far the biggest hit making player in the backline with 13 in total. What all of that added up to was a lot of pressure put on Italy, who coughed up 18 penalties in the match.