Ireland look to extend long winning run
February 8, 2009
Denis Hickie scores against Italy at Lansdowne Road in 2002 © Getty Images
Ireland was the first Home Union to award Test status for internationals against Italy. The nations have met 16 times since 1988 in major Tests. Ireland heads the series by thirteen wins (including the last dozen matches) to three. Italy's wins were between 1995 and 1997 in successive friendly internationals outside the Six Nations Championship.
Ireland holds 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 134 points from nine appearances (compared with 96 for Italy by Diego Dominguez), and Alessandro Troncon's dozen appearances in the series. Four Irishmen have played in ten of the matches: Girvan Dempsey, John Hayes, Malcolm O'Kelly and Peter Stringer.
John Hayes lies one cap behind Malcolm O'Kelly's on the all-time list of Irish Test appearances (91).
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