The 2024 Guinness Men’s Six Nations started with significant excitement and tension during Round 1.
Ireland delivered an enormous declaration of their might by securing a triumph on French soil, while England narrowly prevailed against Italy in a closely contested match in Rome.
Following that, Wales came very close to achieving a remarkable comeback, as Warren Gatland’s squad narrowly lost to Scotland, who gained a significant advantage with a superb performance in the first 45 minutes before dramatically slowing down.
The Six Nations festivities continue this weekend, and although Andy Farrell maintains that discussions regarding his potential to guide Ireland to consecutive Grand Slam titles are premature, he’ll have the confidence to strive further versus the biggest underdogs of the competition, Italy, when a showdown in Dublin commences on Sunday afternoon.
Ireland vs Italy: What we know so far
Ireland travelled to Marseille as slight underdogs and convincingly defeated France — with the assistance of a red card given to Paul Willemse — in a 17-38 triumph, as the luck of the Irish reigned supreme in the Six Nations 2024 opening weekend.
Joe McCarthy was awarded the Player of the Match honours during his first appearance in the Six Nations tournament. However, Tadhg Beirne’s exceptional performance in many statistical areas made him unfortunate not to get the same recognition.
Jack Crowley had moments of greatness in his first game donning the number 10 jersey after Johnny Sexton’s retirement, while the previously criticised lineout operated flawlessly.
The Irish team’s forwards delivered exceptional ruck ball, while Jamison Gibson-Park skillfully relieved the rookie fly-half of significant strain by effectively controlling the game.
James Lowe’s left boot proved a formidable weapon as Ireland, in a rare occurrence, outperformed their French counterparts in terms of kicking.
Regarding Italy, they came close to defeating England in their first match in Rome. The visitors had a 27-24 lead until Monty Ioane scored a late point, thus handing the travelling English unit the lead.
Italy, guided by their new coach Gonzalo Quesada, a former Argentinian out half, had moments of brilliance but faced difficulties breaking through England’s well-coached defence, commanded by Felix Jones, throughout the second half.
Ireland vs Italy: Team News
No information from the Ireland camp has been released on any injuries resulting from the encounter with France.
Considering that it is a week of rest following Sunday, it is likely that Andy Farrell will refrain from making major changes in the team lineup due to the significance of delivering a strong performance on home ground.
The only conclusive update on injuries at this point has been from Italy. Sebastian Negri, the dominant back row forward, had a “rib contusion” during the match against England and will be unable to participate in the game in Dublin, as confirmed by the Azzurri. Negri has gained significant recognition among fans with his prominent appearance in the new Netflix documentary Full Contact.
Negri’s return to Benetton for rehabilitation has included Zebre attacker Matteo Canali and Benetton out half Leo Marin in the Italian team.
Ireland vs Italy: Prediction
As an Irishman, I’m naturally biased in favour of the Wolfhounds, but we must also face facts. Not since their victory against Wales in 2022 has Italy achieved victory in the Six Nations.
Their performance in the World Cup was particularly disastrous, allowing 90 points against the All Blacks, and their developmental process has been longer than Devin Toners’ legs.
Sure, in Quesada, they acquired a new coach with an exceptional curriculum vitae who, due to his long experience in French rugby, has a deep understanding of this league.
Italy often utilises wide attacks more frequently than any other side in the competition. They have a strong inclination towards passing the ball about. Additionally, their track record regarding the fraction of carries that are successfully beyond the gain line is commendable.
If Quesada can successfully integrate both pragmatic decision-making and effective use of wide play and forward carriers into the Italian team’s tactics, they have the potential to become a formidable force.
It is worth remembering that before their World Cup failure, Italy posed difficulties for Ireland in the previous year’s Six Nations tournament. However, the Irish still secured a 20-34 victory by widening the score margin in the second half.
However, considering Italy’s ongoing development and the fact that the game will be held in Dublin, it would need an exceptional performance from the Italian team and a really poor one from Ireland for Sunday’s match to be truly competitive.
We predict that Ireland will enter the third round following another impressive performance, as the recommended online gambling operators from Gambling.com and its oddsmakers will unquestionably be aligned with this potential result.
Prediction: Ireland 38 – Italy 17
Ireland vs. Italy: Statistical Facts
- Ireland’s 21-point victory over France was their largest in over a century (24–0 in 1913) and ranked as their second largest overall. In addition, their 38-point total is their highest ever against France.
- Ireland has achieved a record-setting nine-game winning streak in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations. This is the longest such run in the history of the Five or Six Nations. Since Italy entered the Six Nations in 2000, only England (W11, 2015-17) has surpassed Ireland in terms of consecutive victories.
- Italy collected three tries to England’s two this past weekend, marking the first time since 2015 (Italy 3–1 Scotland) that they had scored more tries than their opponent in a men’s Six Nations match. It was only the third time they had accomplished this feat against England, following 2012 and 2013.
- Ireland has triumphed in 23 of their prior 24 Guinness Men’s Six Nations matches against Italy (L1), including each of their last 10. Furthermore, they have amassed an average of 29 points in their 12 previous meetings in Dublin.
- Ireland has won their last sixteen Test matches on home soil, the longest streak of any men’s Test rugby team in history. In 12 of those 16 matches, Ireland scored four tries or more.
- Despite losing each of their last six Guinness Men’s Six Nations matches (L42) and having won just one of their previous 43 (v Wales in 2022 and Scotland in 2015), the Azzurri have secured two Championship victories away from home.
Ireland vs Ireland: When and where
Ireland defends its title in the inaugural home match of the 2024 Six Nations in Dublin. The visitors to the Aviva Stadium this weekend are Italy. The game will begin on Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m.