Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match Tadhg Beirne believes Ireland showed an improved clinical edge in their convincing 48-10 victory over Italy in Rome.
Ireland had suffered narrow defeats to Wales and France in the opening two rounds of this year’s Championship but a six-try showing got them off the mark in Italy.
Will Connors crossed twice, while Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan, CJ Stander and Keith Earls also scored tries but it was Beirne who got the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match nod.
Having been in the second row for Ireland’s previous games, he was moved into the back row and was just as effective – making 38 metres from just seven carries, breaking two tackles, making ten tackles of his own and winning a turnover.
No-one in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations had hit more rucks than Beirne heading into Round 3 and he demonstrated his relentless motor around the Stadio Olimpico pitch once more but was left delighted by the performance of the whole team.
“I’m happy to be out on the field no matter what number is on the back of my jersey,” explained Beirne.
“You’ve got such good quality with Hendo [Iain Henderson] and James Ryan in the second row that to even be on the field when those two lads are fit, I’m happy to be out there.
“We came into this game, we wanted to go at Italy and improve our attack a little bit. We hadn’t been clinical at times but we were much better in that area and that showed on the scoreboard.”
Ireland will complete their Championship with a trip to Scotland in Round 4 before a contest with England in Dublin on Super Saturday and Beirne is targeting a similar display to the one they produced in Rome.
He added: “We want to keep the physicality up in there, then we just have to keep attacking the way we were [against Italy] and hopefully we can come away with victories in those games.”