Ireland out to extend Italian dominance
February 1, 2010
Ireland enjoyed a big win in Rome in 2009 © Getty Images
Ireland was the first Home Union to award Test status for internationals against Italy. The nations have met 17 times since 1988 in major Tests. Ireland head the series by 14 wins (including the last 13 matches) to three. Italy's wins were between 1995 and 1997 in successive friendly internationals outside the Six Nations Championship.
Ireland thumped Italy 38-9 in Rome last season as they powered to a Grand Slam.
Ireland hold the record for the most tries, highest score and biggest winning margin of the series. They scored eight tries in the 61-6 win at Thomond Park, Limerick when the sides met in 2003 in a World Cup warm-up match. Ireland also scored eight tries in the 2007 Six Nations match in Rome.
Ronan O'Gara, with 30 points for Ireland in Dublin in 2000, holds the series record for most points scored in a match. Denis Hickie set the record for most tries in a match, scoring four for Ireland when the sides met at Limerick in 2003.
The corresponding match records for Italy belong to Diego Dominguez (27 points in Bologna in 1997) and Paulo Vaccari (two tries in Dublin in 1997).
Hickie heads the list of try scorers for the overall series, crossing eight times in eight appearances between 1997 and 2007. Paulo Vaccari is the leading Italian try scorer in the matches with three in four games.
The other overall records include Ronan O'Gara's tally of 145 points from 10 appearances (compared with 96 for Italy by Diego Dominguez), and Alessandro Troncon's dozen appearances in the series. Three Irishmen have played in 11 of the matches: John Hayes, Malcolm O'Kelly and Peter Stringer.
Ireland-Italy Six Nations results:
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9