2015 Rugby World Cup: Ireland secure qualification after victory over Italy
The Irish joined the list of teams having secured a quarterfinal berth after narrowly edging Italy 16-9 in their Pool D clash at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Despite the win, Ireland were far from convincing as they struggled in this game against the Italians in what was their first real test of the tournament.
Keith Earls grabbed a piece of history when he scored the all-important try of the game in the first half. Earls became Ireland’s record world cup try scorer. The Six Nations champions though could not drive home their advantage and Italy clung on to their coat tails.
Tommaso Allan’s kicking kept the Italians in touch with the two teams separated by just four points at the break.
Italy of course had much to cheer as star man Sergio Parisse returned to the line-up providing a big boost to the team. Allan’s kicking brought the lead at one stage down to a single point, trailing 10-9.
Jonny Sexton provided the under fire Irish some much-needed breathing space when he scored two more penalties.To compound matters, Ireland had to play the last few minutes with a man less after Peter O’Mahony was sin binned, thus adding to the pressure. However, the Irish opted to go for a kicking game as against any attacking, and managed to hold on for the narrow win at the end.
With a quarterfinal berth tied up, the only thing to be decided now in Pool D is who finishes top. The big clash between Ireland and France at Cardiff will decide that with the second place finisher likely to get defending champions New Zealand in the quarters.