15. Andrea Masi – 6
Solid in defence but also looked the most threatening of the Italian backs when he attempted to counter attack.
14. Giovanbattista Venditti – 5
Like Benvenuti, Venditti has great potential, but the big winger did not see enough of the ball to be able to make a difference in attack.
13. Tommaso Benvenuti – 5
Continued to show signs of his potential but was fairly ineffective against a well drilled Irish defence.
12. Alberto Sgarbi – 6
Improved on his disastrous start to the tournament against France but was unable to break the gain line regularly.
11. Luke McLean – 6
Had a decent game in defence but did not see enough of the ball to make a difference in attack.
10. Tobias Botes – 6
Many were wondering why Botes was starting given his poor performance off the bench the previous week, but the fly half answered some of his critics with a solid performance even if he couldn’t ignite the Italian back line.
9. Eduardo Gori – 6
A solid but unspectacular performance from the scrum half, his forwards lacklustre display did not make his job any easier.
1. Michele Rizzo – 5
Was outclassed in the scrum by Mike Ross and went missing in the loose. A poor performance from the inexperienced prop.
2. Leonardo Ghilardini – 6
Performed admirably in the loose and efficiently at the lineout, one of the few good performers in a game to forget for the Italians.
3. Lorenzo Cittadini – 5
Fairly anonymous during the game, the Azzurri will be hoping for Castrogiovanni to return sooner rather than later.
4. Quentin Geldenhuys – 5
Looked fairly lively with ball in hand during the first half, but failed to maintain his performance into the second half.
5. Marco Bortolami – 6
Secured good lineout ball as well as challenging well on Irish lineouts.
6. Alessandro Zanni – 5
Rarely took the ball into contact and struggled to live with the physicality of the Irish back row.
7. Roberto Barbieri – 7
Barbieri carried well in what was a good performance from the flanker, arguably the pick of the Italian forwards.
8. Sergio Parisse – 6
A quiet performance from Parisse seemed to symbolise the collective performance of the Azzurri pack. It is perhaps unfair that the number eight is held to different standards than the rest of the Italian team, but such is his ability that a better performance is expected.
by Alex Shaw