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Ireland's Geordan Murphy evades Italian Fredrico Pucciariello's tackle in an 'A' fixture in March 2000.
Ireland's Geordan Murphy evades Italian Fredrico Pucciariello's tackle in an 'A' fixture in March 2000.
Image: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

Ireland v Italy: 3 times the sides have memorably clashed

This is the 25th meeting between the sides – and there have been a few classics.
Oct 1st 2015, 12:37 PM 6,060 9

HISTORY POINTS TO an Irish victory this Sunday, with the Boys in Green victorious in 20 of the 24 fixtures so far between the sides.

None of that will matter come kick-off at the weekend however, and the Italians will fancy their chances of causing an upset in a World Cup that seems perfectly poised for quite a few of them.

1. Italy 22-15 Ireland

Stadio Olimpico, Rome, 16 March 2013 (Six Nations Championship)

The last time the Azzurri defeated Ireland (and the only time since the three-in-a-row wins between 1995 and ’97) was during the Six Nations Championship two years ago.

Paddy Jackson kicked all of Ireland’s points on the day, and it was Giovanbattista Venditti’s crucial try which won it in the end for an Italy side who had beaten France in their opening game of the tournament.

Brian O’Driscoll was sin-binned for an early stamp, while Sergio Parisse was in inspiring form for the home side. BOD was only the first of 3 Irish players to be sent to the line during the game, along with Donnacha Ryan and Conor Murray, and it was that indiscipline which proved costly.

Ireland’s only win was against eventual champions Wales in their opening game, while the Italians themselves only finished the championship a point above Declan Kidney’s side.

Italy: Masi; Venditti, G Canale, Garcia, McLean; Orquera, Gori; Lo Cicero, Ghiraldini, Cittadini, Geldenhuys, Furno, Zanni, Favaro, Parisse.
Replacements: Benvenuti for Masi (66), Botes for Gori (75), Rizzo for Lo Cicero (64), Giazzon for Ghiraldini (75), De Marchi for Cittadini (75), Pavanello for Geldenhuys (64), Minto for Furno (58), Derbyshire for Favaro (58).
Sin Bin: Parisse (52).

Ireland: Kearney; Gilroy, O’Driscoll, L Marshall, Earls; Jackson, Murray, Healy, Best, Ross, McCarthy, Ryan, O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip, Fitzgerald.
Replacements: Madigan for L. Marshall (28), Fitzgerald for Earls (25), Kilcoyne for Healy (71), Cronin for Best (71), Archer for Ross (67), Toner for McCarthy (64), P. Marshall for Ryan (79), Henderson for Fitzgerald (37).

Sin Bin: O’Driscoll (30), Murray (79).
Att: 60,000
Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

2. Ireland 31-15 Italy

Lansdowne Road, Dublin, 31 December 1988 (friendly international)

Although it was ‘only’ a friendly game, the New Year’s Eve 1988 fixture at Lansdowne Road was the first ever game of rugby between the two nations.

It resulted in a comfortable win for the Irish but it would also be the last time the Azzurri would lose to an Irish side until April 1999.

Donal Lenihan competes with Richard Moriarty Donal Lenihan rises highest against Wales' Richard Moriarty in May 1987. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Donal Lenihan was among those who lined out in the Irish victory that day, and perhaps some other names might be quite recognisable:

15. P P A Danaher, Garryowen RFC, 14. J F Sexton, Lansdowne RFC, 13. V Cunningham, St Marys RFC, 12. B J Mullin, London Irish RFC, 11. K D Crossan, Instonians RFC, 10. P M Dean, St Marys College RFC, 9. F P Aherne, Lansdowne RFC, 8. N P Mannion, Corinthians RFC, 7. W D McBride, Malone RFC, 6. P M Mathews (captain), Wanderers RFC, 5. N P Francis, London Irish RFC, 4. D G Lenihan, Cork Constitution RFC, 3. J J Mcoy, Bangor RFC, 2. S J Smith, Ballymena RFC, 1. T P J Clancy, Lansdowne RFC.

3. Ireland 36-6 Italy

Otago Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2 October 2011 (2011 Rugby World Cup)

The last (and only) time Ireland and Italy have met at a Rugby World Cup was during the last tournament in New Zealand, and Irish fans will hope for a similar outcome second time around.

One Brian O’Driscoll try and two from Keith Earls secured a 30-point win for Kidney’s Ireland, and set them up to top the pool.

Ireland only led 9-6 at half-time, but a stirring second-half performance sealed the victory, with 24-year-old birthday boy Earls a constant thorn in the Azzurri side. Ronan O’Gara also kicked 16 impressive points, with a certain Jonny Sexton chipping in with a conversion and a penalty when he was introduced.

Source: Madforrugby99/YouTube

Ireland: Robert Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (capt), Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls; Ronan O’Gara, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris; Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan; Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Tom Court, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble

Italy: Andrea Masi; Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Luciano Orquera, Fabio Semenzato; Sergio Parisse (capt), Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni; Cornelius van Zyl, Quintin Geldenhuys; Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Andrea Lo Cicero, Marco Bortolami, Paul Derbyshire, Edoardo Gori, Riccardo Bocchino, Luke McLean

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

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Jamie Heaslip thanks the record-breaking crowd that turned Wembley green

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Shane Hannon

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