Women's Six Nations: Ireland 21-8 Italy

2018 Women's Six Nations
Ireland (7) 21
Tries: Williams, Griffin 2 Cons: Briggs 3
Italy (3) 8
Try: Ricci Pen: Sillari

Ireland women beat Italy 21-8 in Dublin to seal their first win of this year's Women's Six Nations Championship.

Wing Megan Williams touched down behind the posts after 10 minutes but Michela Sillari replied with a penalty as Ireland led 7-3 at half-time.

Ireland captain Ciara Griffin added two second-half scores, with Niamh Briggs converting all three Irish tries.

Italian prop Eleonora Ricci rumbled over in the final minute to reduce the margin of her side's defeat.

Ireland lost 24-0 to France in their tournament opener in Toulouse last week, with Italy going down to a heavy 42-7 reverse at the hands of England.

The home side suffered an early setback when wing Alison Miller was taken off on a stretcher with a suspected broken ankle after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch.

Williams marked just her second senior Ireland appearance by dotting down behind the posts after Adam Griggs' side had secured turnover ball and gone through the phases following a powerful scrum.

The first half was punctuated by several stoppages for treatment on injuries but centre Sillari knocked over the Italians' first points on the stroke of half-time to leave the deficit at four points at the break.

Ireland's Niamh Briggs in action against Eleonora Ricci at Donnybrook
Ireland's Niamh Briggs in action against Eleonora Ricci at Donnybrook

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Ireland continued to dominate possession but for a long period were unable to turn their territorial advantage into points, Briggs knocking on with the line at her mercy.

Number eight Griffin eventually gave the hosts some breathing space in the 67th minute when she dived down on the ball to score after Leinster prop Lindsay Peat had made ground following another strong Ireland scrum.

Briggs looked to have gone over soon after, but the television match official indicated there had been no clear grounding of the ball.

The third try was not long in coming though, as the dominant Ireland scrum again laid the platform for Griffin to gather and cross the whitewash for her second score.

Ricci rumbled over after a line-out in the final action of the game but Italy remain without a point going into their away fixture against France on 24 February.

Ireland will host Wales in their next match on 25 February as they attempt to close the gap on England and France, who both boast 10 points thanks to a couple of bonus-point victories.

Ireland: Kim Flood; Megan Williams, Katie Fitzhenry, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller; Niamh Briggs, Ailsa Hughes; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Fiona Reidy; Paula Fitzpatrick, Nichola Fryday; Anna Caplice, Claire Molloy, Ciara Griffin (capt).

Replacements: Leah Lyons, Laura Feely, Ciara O'Connor, Orla Fitzsimons, Edel McMahon, Nicole Cronin, Michelle Claffey, Claire McLaughlin

Italy: Manuela Furlan; Sofia Stefan, Michela Sillari, Beatrice Rigoni, Maria Magatti; Jessica Busato, Sara Barattin (capt); Eleonora Ricci, Melissa Bettoni, Lucia Gai, Valentina Ruzza, Giordana Duca, Beatrice Veronese, Isabella Locatelli, Ilaria Arrighetti.

Replacements: Silvia Turani, Giorgia Durante, Michela Merlo, Miriam Pagani, Giada Franco, Arianna Corbucci, Anna Maria Gizzi, Aura Muzzo.

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