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Saturday, February 04, 2006


Six Nations: Ireland 26-16 Italy

In what wasn't a great spectacle, the Italians can rightly head home disappointed that they lost this one.

The Italians can justifiably question whether Irish wing, Tommy Bowe, grounded the ball for his try.

Television replays appeared to show his arm between the ball and the goal area before he was heroically held up by Azzurri openside, Bergamasco.

Pierre Berbizier was quietly furious at the post match interview, asking why the fourth official wasn't called in to adjudicate. The BBC subsequently ran the footage again from many angles, in none of which can it conclusively be seen that the ball was grounded.

Berbizier went on to question whether stamping is now to be allowed in the Six Nations since there were two clear instances of overly zealous Irish rucking.

It was on the second incident where the Italians were penalised for a retaliatory punch from a furious Martín Castrogiovanni. In fact, the referee could easily have awarded a yellow against the Irish.

Those two scoring opportunities were the difference between the two teams in a match where the Italians matched the Irish in most departments.

The Italians can go away heartened for their upcoming matches against Wales and Scotland whilst the Irish will have to improve if they plan to win the title this year.

For Ireland:
Tries: Flanery, Bowe
Cons: O'Gara
Pens: O'Gara 4

For Italy:
Try: Mi Bergamasco
Con: Pez
Pens: Pez 3

Yellow card(s): Pez, Italy -late tackle, 38

Ireland: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Malcolm O'Kelly, 3 John Hayes, 2 Jerry Flannery, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Simon Best, 18 Donncha O'Callaghan, 19 Johnny O'Connor, 20 Eoin Reddan (Wasps), 21 David Humphreys, 22 Andrew Trimble.

Italy: 15 Cristian Stoica, 14 Pablo Canavosio, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Mirco Bergamasco, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Ramiro Pez, 9 Paul Griffen, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Santiago Dellapè, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Antonio Festuccia, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Carlo Del Fava, 20 Aaron Persico, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Rima Wakarua.

Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Touch judges: Joël Jutge (France), Nigel Owens (Wales)
Television match official: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
So in the very first international of the season we already have bad decisions and the incorrect use of technology.
Won't it be nice - and good for rugby - if the Pasta Boys can pull a few surprises?
Ras, could you detect if the IRB's
instruction of tougher rulings re the way the ball is put into scrums etc. were applied?
Or does this only come into effect later?

I couldn't see any difference to be honest.

Interpretation looked the exact same. Nobody in either match was warned for backchat, no scrumhalf was penalised for crooked feeds etc.

I'll ask Jo Trojer for his view as he is a qualified ref and keeps a close eye on them.
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