Women's Six Nations 2015: Italy 5-30 Ireland
|Italy (0) 5|
|Ireland (7) 30|
|Tries: Briggs, Fitzpatrick 2, O'Brien, Murphy Cons: Briggs Pens: Briggs|
Ireland's women scored five tries as they opened their Six Nations campaign with a dominant 30-5 win over Italy.
New captain Niamh Briggs's 20th-minute try helped Ireland lead 7-0 in Florence after some intense early pressure.
But the Irish then had an escape as Manuela Furlan delivered a forward pass to the well placed Michaela Sillari.
Paula Fitzpatrick notched two second-half tries with Jenny Murphy and Heather O'Brien also scoring before Maria Magatti's late Italian try.
Briggs was captaining the Irish after the retirement of previous skipper Fiona Coghlan who led Ireland to the World Cup semi-finals last summer.
The 2013 Grand Slam winners forced a series of five-metre scrums in the opening 20 minutes at the Stadio Mario Lodigiani before full-back Briggs was eventually able to breach the home defence.
After Briggs added the conversion, the Italian backs stretched the Irish defence with a series of free-flowing moves but their efforts came to nothing as Furlan's forward pass ended the period of pressure.
The Irish still only led 7-0 at the break but the 42nd-minute sin-binning of Italian prop Elisa Cucchiella was punished a minute later by Fitzpatrick's first try as the Irish mauled their way over.
After missing the conversion, Briggs did extend the lead to 15-0 with a penalty and Ireland's third try came on 59 minutes as Jackie Shiels's hack upfield allowed Murphy to dive over in the corner.
Ireland's forward domination yielded further tries from O'Brien and Fitzpatrick although the Italians produced the final scoring say in the last play of the game as Furlan fed replacement Magatti to score after intense pressure.
The Irish will be back in action against France in Ashbourne next Friday with the Italians facing England at Twickenham Stoop two days later.
Italy: M Furlan, M Diletta Veronese, S Stefan, M Grazia Cioffi, M Sillari; V Schiavon, S Barattin; E Cucchiella, L Cammarano, M Bettoni: F Severin, A Trevisan; I Arrighetti, E Giordano, S Gaudino. Replacements: A Coulibaly, I Campanini, M Este, A Pantarotto, A Ruzza, B Rigoni, P Zangirolami, M Magatti
Ireland: N Briggs (capt); H Tyrrell, J Murphy, J Shiels, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; ML Reilly, S Spence; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O'Brien. Replacements: S Mimnagh, F Hayes, F O'Brien, O Fitzsimons, K Norris, T Rosser, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu.