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Ireland’s Six Nations defence gets tougher from here on in – Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell warned Ireland’s Guinness Six Nations title defence “gets tougher from here” after his side swatted aside Italy.

The reigning champions registered a thumping 36-0 bonus-point win to back up last week’s statement success away to pre-tournament favourites France.

Winless Wales visit Dublin on February 24 before Ireland finish their campaign with March appointments against England and Scotland.

Head coach Farrell feels his team have made a “decent start” to the championship as they seek to make history by claiming back-to-back Grand Slams.

“Obviously delighted with two from two and maximum points, 36-0 is a nice scoreline for us,” he said.

“To put in a performance like that where I thought we were clinical at times, I thought our set piece was excellent, top drawer, and then scoring some nice tries on the back of all that type of pressure was very pleasing to get over the line.

“Two from two. It’s a decent start. It gets tougher from here on in.”

Jack Crowley’s first senior try set Ireland on course for victory before Dan Sheehan’s double and scores from Jack Conan, James Lowe and Calvin Nash completed a routine success.

The one-sided result was the first time Ireland had nilled a team in the championship since a 17-0 triumph over England in the 1987 Five Nations.

Stand-in captain Caelan Doris, who deputised for the injured Peter O’Mahony, said: “Keeping them to zero was definitely very pleasing given the quality of their attack.

“It was something we talked about during the week, they’ve a lot of structure in their attack and they’ve got threats throughout.

“I don’t think it’s a mean feat keeping them to zero and we’re happy with that, definitely.”

Farrell made six personnel changes for Sunday afternoon’s contest, which

Read more on independent.co.uk