The Leinster winger was among the tries in Ireland's hefty win
Ireland debutant Hugo Keenan was at the double as Six Nations action resumed, with the home side hammering Italy 50-17.
There were seven tries in total for Ireland and they won with a bonus point. They now head to Paris with their fate in their own hands – win with a bonus point against France next week, they are guaranteed the Six Nations title. It may still come down to points difference, which means the Irish could yet rue conceded tries here, including a late one from Italian newbie Paolo Garbisi…
Italy were overrun for large part of the game and struggled in the face of Ireland’s savage defence. When Ireland eventually earnt their try bonus with a score from openside Will Connors – who was exceptional on debut himself and was named man of the match – the pressure was off. From there Ireland played with width and ambition, including an incredible pass from Peter O’Mahony to set up Bundee Aki’s score.
Keenan certainly offered some excitement. He scored two and had a third chalked off – that one was created by a breaking Jacob Stockdale, however James Ryan was adjudged to have blocked Marco Lazzaroni’s path to a tackle on the full-back, leading to referee Matt Carley saying ‘no try’.
Talking before this Test, Ireland attack coach Mike Catt said of Keenan: “He’s unbelievably quick, unbelievably fit, and he’s settled in very, very well. So I see huge things for him, he’s got a huge future.”
And immediately after the game, former Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy told ITV: “I think they’ll need to check his GPS data – he was everywhere.”
Ireland scored through CJ Stander, Keenan twice, Connors, Johnny Sexton, Aki and Dave Heffernan. Edo Padovani raced ahead from an interception off Sexton to score a try against the run of play and then Garbisi dummied his way for an 82-minute try at the end. Ireland had in fact rushed the conversion from Heffernan’s score in order to squeeze in more play before the final whistle, to try pile up a bigger points difference, but in the end it backfired as Garbisi shortened the deficit.
Could points difference be key in Paris? It should make for an exciting finale.
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