7 Feb 2010

Champions begin Six Nations in winning style

9:49 am on 7 February 2010

The defending champions Ireland have beaten Italy 29-11 in the opening match of the Six Nations rugby tournament at Croke Park in Dublin.

Ireland scored two tries to one through Jamie Heaslip and Tomas O'Leary and led 23-8 at half-time.

Irish first-five Ronan O'Gara slotted two conversions and four penalties, while Paddy Wallace added another.

New Zealand-born Kaine Robertson scored the lone try for Italy via a charge-down, while Australian league convert Craig Gower kicked a penalty, as did Mirco Bergamasco.

The win extends Ireland's unbeaten run to 12 Test matches.

France are favourites and they play Scotland tomorrow.