Ireland has qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after a tight 16-9 win over Italy at the Olympic Stadium in London on Sunday. The Italians are now out of the tournament and next week’s clash between the Irish and France will determine the group winners. It was a must-win encounter for both sides as neither one could settle for a defeat knowing what was at stake.
The Azzurri tried to patiently build from the back and bulldoze their way over the line in the early exchanges. However, the Shamrocks were out for blood and took nothing for granted as they looked to win this one from the onset. Joe Schmidt’s men led 10-6 at the break following an opening half clouded with miscommunication from either side but the try by Keith Earls proved paramount.
After the restart, Jacques Brunel’s boys were awarded a penalty and Tomasso Allan made no mistake as he reduced the deficit. However in the 58th minute, Jonathan Sexton increased the lead for his side making it 13-9 with less than 20 minutes to go. Going into the last 10 ten minutes, the scoreline remained with both sides fancying their chances. M
A Peter O’Mahony yellow card in the last eight minutes opened the door for the southern Europeans but it was not to be. Brunel’s boys are mathematically out of the tournament as they can no longer pick up enough points to catch up to the top two.