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Ireland keep their Six Nations hopes alive

  • Story Highlights
  • Ireland maintain their 100 per cent Six Nations record with 38-9 win over Italy
  • Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, David Wallace and Brian O'Driscoll all score
  • The Irish lead Six Nations champions Wales in the table on points difference
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(CNN) -- Ireland's bid for the Six Nations rugby title gathered further momentum with a scrappy 38-9 victory against Italy at the Stadio Flaminio, Rome on Sunday.

David Wallace touches down for Ireland in their comfortable Six Nations win over Italy on Sunday.

David Wallace touches down for Ireland in their comfortable Six Nations win over Italy on Sunday.

Luke Fitzgerald crossed twice with Tommy Bowe, David Wallace and Brian O'Driscoll also touching down against a limited Azzurri who ran out of ideas after a rousing opening 35 minutes.

Italy were fired-up by the heavy criticism that greeted their 36-11 defeat by England last weekend but their passion could only take them so far.

Ireland crushed their resistance by cranking up the pressure at key moments, leading to scores for Fitzgerald and Wallace either side of the interval that swept them out of sight.

Luke McLean contributed all of Italy's points with three penalties and for all their possession and spirit, Nick Mallett's team never threatened the visitors' line.

Ireland will be disappointed by their failure to put the Azzurri to the sword in the second half which they dominated, a large error count preventing them from cutting loose.

Late tries from Fitzgerald and O'Driscoll, plundered when Italy's heads had dropped, gave the score a lopsided look that was harsh on the home team.

Ireland's title aspirations will be clearer in a fortnight when England are the visitors to Croke Park, Dublin.

With all teams now having played two matches, Ireland and defending champions Wales are the only two countries on maximum points, with the Irish leading the table on points difference.

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