Ireland To Romp To Victory In The Second Half In Rome

Italy and Ireland are both looking to get their 2017 Six Nations campaigns up and running with a win on Saturday afternoon and it is the Irish who are overwhelming favourites for victory in Rome, although they may have to be patient...

  • Ireland have won 22 of their 26 matches against Italy
  • Keith Earls has scored four tries in six starts against the Azzurri

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Saturday 11th February - 2.25pm OddsWon/LostBet
Italy v Ireland    
Tips Ireland to cover -12 points in second half    Best Bet @ 10 / 11  

Italy Stats | Ireland Stats

Losing Starts

Both sides suffered damaging defeats in their opening matches last weekend as Italy were completely overwhelmed by Wales in the second-half of their 33-7 defeat and Ireland lost 27-22 to Scotland at Murrayfield, where they did at least pick up a losing bonus point thanks to the new points system.

The Irish were lacklustre for the first half of their defeat in Edinburgh before staging a second-half comeback, although it wasn't enough and they simply have to win their four remaining matches to have any chance of winning the tournament.

Joe Schmidt has made changes to his team as Donnacha Ryan and Cian Healy come into the pack for the injured Iain Henderson and Jack McGrath but the Irish won't be taking any risks with the fitness of fly-half Jonny Sexton, who again misses out.

Paddy Jackson is a more than able deputy for Sexton and his Ireland side are 1/22 for victory in Rome on Saturday (Betway).
Match Odds:

A Strong Second Half

The Irish have won five of the last seven Italy v Ireland clashes by 23 points or more and they are even-money to cover a -23 point handicap in Saturday's match.

However, we prefer to back them to cover -12 points in the second-half at 10/11 (Coral) as we are relying on them to produce another second-half showing similar to that of Murrayfield, where they ran in three tries during the final 40 minutes of the match.

Furthermore, Italy tend to be stronger in the first half of games as was shown when they led Wales 7-3 after 40 minutes last Saturday and their seven Test matches since the 2016 Six Nations have seen them lead at half-time (three) or be within at least two points of the opposition (three) on six occasions.

Conor O'Shea's men seem to tire as matches progress and they could fold, as they did against Wales last week, if their influential captain Sergio Parisse doesn't play the full 80 minutes. Parisse is playing with a neck injury on Saturday and the floodgates could open if he departs the field.

Earls To Make It Four In A Row

The Italians have lost 22 of their 26 meetings with Ireland in all formats and they have won just once since 1999. That sole recent success came in Rome in 2013 but it is difficult to see a repeat against this wounded Ireland side and Keith Earls, who has scored four tries in six starts against Italy, is 17/2 to be first tryscorer (Sky Bet) as he bids to cross the try line for a fourth international match in a row.
First Tryscorer Odds:

Posted: Thursday, 9th February 2017
Author: Chris Knight

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