Italy 16-26 Ireland, Stadio Olimpico
Ireland survived a scare from Italy as they registered a 16-26 victory in the third round of the Six Nations clash at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
It was Conor O'Shea's men that had the advantage during the half-time with a 16-12 lead but they failed to add any points in the second half thereby succumbing to 20th consecutive defeat in the history of the Six Nations.
Italy are languishing at the bottom of the Six Nations table after losing all the three games while Ireland now move to the third position with nine points.
Ireland had the majority of the possession in the early stages and opened their account in the 11th minute when Chris Farrell was stopped near the try line but the centre offloaded to Quinn Roux for the opening try and Johnny Sexton followed it with a conversion.
The response from the home side came in the 20th minute when Tommaso Allan kicked a penalty goal but a knock-on from Michele Campagnaro saw Jacob Stockdale make use of the loose ball to touchdown in the 21st minute for an unconverted try.
Italy revived their chances with a second penalty kick from Allan and soon back to back tries from Edoardo Padovani (33') and Luca Morisi (39') saw the home side head to the break with a 16-12 scoreline. Italy could have got additional points had it not been for Allan missing a couple of penalties.
Ireland started the second half with everything to play for but showed better intent when Keith Earls breached the defence of Italy to dive over the line in the 52nd minute with a conversion from Conor Murray making it 16-19 scoreline.
The next 15 minutes saw teams slogging for points but Joe Schmidt's side eventually seized the vital moment when Murray scored the fourth try in the 67th minute to help Ireland claim the bonus point and take the scoreline to 16-26. Italy had a chance to attain losing bonus point but a kick from Ian McKinley went wide.