Ireland have run in nine tries in a 58-15 rout of Italy to register their first win in this season’s Six Nations.
Jamie Heaslip scored a try in each half on Saturday with Ireland’s other tries coming from Andrew Trimble, Jack McGrath, Jared Payne, CJ Stander, Sean Cronin, Ian Madigan and Fergus McFadden.
David Odiete and Leonardo Sarto scored what were little more than consolation tries for Italy in the second half.
In a dominant display, Ireland opened the scoring after just seven minutes when Sarto tapped the ball back past Odiete and into the path of Payne who offloaded for Trimble to score in the corner.
McGrath burrowed over for the home side’s second try after 15 minutes before Italy registered their first points of the game through an Edoardo Padovani penalty.
Sexton kept the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty of his own before Stander powered his way over the Italian line on the half-hour mark to move Ireland further ahead.
The try of the match came a minute before the break from Heaslip who finished off a slick Irish passing move that started in their own 22-metre area following an initial line break by Simon Zebo to send Joe Schmidt’s side into halftime leading 25-3.
Any slim chances of an Italian comeback ended four minutes after the restart when Payne intercepted Padovani’s long pass to touch down beneath the posts.
Sexton slotted over the resultant conversion and with the Italians clearly flagging, Heaslip touched down for his second try shortly afterwards before replacement hooker Sean Cronin powered past Dario Chistolini to score Ireland’s seventh try four minutes later.
Italy finally breached the Irish defensive line on 57 minutes when scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani’s pass found Odiete, who touched down in the corner.
Continued Irish pressure saw replacement Madigan touch down with Sarto then scoring Italy’s second try of the match before McFadden completed the rout with Ireland’s ninth try two minutes from time.