Azzurri tipped to struggle

09 February 2018 22:32:20 GMTPlus11
Italy head coach Conor O'Shea.

Ireland wing Andrew Trimble cannot see this weekend's opponents Italy significantly testing Joe Schmidt's men in the Six Nations.

The Azzurri were competitive for the majority of the match in their opening encounter versus England, but they leaked tries in the final 20 minutes as the Red Rose pulled away.

And Trimble, who is currently on the sidelines, can see a similar pattern emerging on Saturday as Schmidt's side attempt to make it two victories in a row in 2018 following the dramatic triumph over France last weekend.

He said: "I can't see surprises there. We will have learnt a lot from the game in Paris, we'll kick on and hopefully that will get us back to being dominant again, but you never know with Italy. I think we'll see something very similar to what England produced."

If Ireland are to win the tournament this year, the Emerald Isle will need to produce significantly better performances than they displayed against France, but Trimble insists that the nature of the win in round one will benefit the team far more.

"I think Ireland, as a result of being tested in that first game, will probably be in a better condition going on to the rest of the Six Nations because we might get to Twickenham with it all to play for," he added.

"If we do, we'll look back and say, 'we've been in this position before and we've got over the line.' I think potentially Ireland are better off from the game last weekend than had they dominated it."

Ireland are 1.28 to win the Six Nations, while England can be backed at 4.33 and Wales at 251.00.

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