The non-UK countries in the Six Nations do not get too much coverage in the media and this year Italy have definitely slipped under the radar.
Okay, they have lost all 3 games – but they play with brio and were unlucky to lose against France.
Yesterday they more than competed against a very powerful Irish team.
In Capuozzo and Cannone they have 2 players that might make a Six Nations XV.
I take them to beat Wales on Match 11th for their second-ever win in the competition.
As for Ireland, they have always been a side with paradoxes – not least as there is no United Ireland nor a national anthem.
In Shoulder to Shoulder -an excellent documentary about Irish rugby and the sectarian divide on BT Sport – the articulate Brian O’Driscoll covered some of the inconsistencies, such as the Irish soldiers in the British Army who represented Ireland alongside Donal Lenihan from Republican Cork, or the Orange Order marchers from County Antrim who supported Ireland, not England.
Yesterday’s match between the two teams produced a better spectacle than the subsequent flaccid display of Wales against England.