Ireland 29 Italy 11

Ireland beat Italy 29-11 this afternoon in a disappointing Six Nations opener in Croke Park. Last year's Grand Slam winners scored two first half tries through Jamie Heaslip and Tomas O'Leary which was enough to see off the Italians.

The visitors have now been in the Six Nations for ten years but today's performance could arguably have been their worst. Italy struggled at scrum time and their line-out was a complete disaster.

However, Ireland weren't much better and showed little of the cohesion of last year in what was a disjointed performance in a particularly lacklustre game in which neither side showed much ambition.

Nick Mallett is without the services of Sergio Parisse for the entire championship and from today's evidence the Azzurri will miss their talismanic skipper. Ireland meanwhile did just enough to win but they will have to up their game next week in Paris if they are to have any chance of beating France.

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