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Doris’ double sees Ireland overcome determined Italy

Doris’ double sees Ireland overcome determined Italy

Ireland celebrate

A double from Caelan Doris ensured Ireland started their Summer Nations Series campaign with a hard-fought 33-17 victory over determined Italy in Dublin.

Doris was one of just two players included from the XV who started the Grand Slam decider against England in March and led by example during a typically industrious v80-minute display.

Dave Kilcoyne had earlier put Ireland ahead before Stuart McCloskey extended the hosts’ half-time lead after Doris had recorded his first try.

Italy remained defiant after the break and crossed twice through young stars Lorenzo Pani and Tommaso Menoncello before the latter suffered a nasty looking injury late on.

Any lingering doubt about the result was removed after tries from Cian Healy and Doris, as Andy Farrell’s much-changed side started their World Cup preparations with a victory.

Having kicked off the Summer Nations Series against Scotland last Saturday, Italy are a week ahead in their preparations and made the livelier start here.

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They hit the front after just two minutes through a Tommaso Allan penalty after the pack got the early nudge over their Irish counterparts.

Prop Kilcoyne may have been floored in that initial exchange but he was celebrating a short while later, dotting down for just his second international try on his 52nd cap.

From there Jack Crowley added a simple conversion, with the 23-year-old Munster man eager to seize the opportunity and nail down a spot on the plane to next month’s World Cup.

Ireland continued to probe and an excellent take in the air from Jacob Stockdale very nearly resulted in a second, but Menoncello just pipped Jimmy O’Brien to Keith Earls’ grubber kick.

The Azzurri continued to frustrate their hosts even after the loss of Marco Riccioni through injury, but it was the departure of another prop, Danilo Fischetti, which preceded Ireland’s second try.

Having recovered from an earlier shoulder problem, Fischetti was too slow to retreat from a penalty and subsequently was shown a yellow card by referee Mathieu Raynal.

From the following play, Ireland executed their lineout drive to perfection, with Caelan Doris going over from the back of the maul before Crowley bisected the posts again.

Italy looked to have resisted another menacing attack with a turnover on their own five on the stroke of half time, but ceded possession after scrum-half Stephen Varney hesitated at a ruck, allowing McCloskey to dive over for his fourth international try.

Into the second half and after a quiet start it was Italy who crossed for their first try – replacement Pani beat Stockdale on the outside to score his first international try.

Late arrival Healy then bulldozed his way over for Ireland’s fourth score before Menoncello responded for Italy to make it 26-17 after they regained possession straight from the restart.

With Ireland’s lead standing at just nine points with ten minutes on the clock, they could ill afford to take their eye off the ball and Doris ensured there would be no late drama, flopping over before Ciaran Frawley added his first Test points.

To add insult to injury for Italy, the lively Menoncello then left the field in tears with his World Cup seemingly in doubt.

Kieran Crowley’s side have two weeks to patch up their wounds after this bruising encounter before they take on Romania, while Ireland also have a fortnight to prepare for their next encounter, with England looking to bounce back following their defeat to Wales.

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