6 Feb 2011

Ireland beat Italy, just

5:48 am on 6 February 2011

A Ronan O'Gara drop goal three minutes from time gave Ireland a 13-11 win over unfancied Italy in their opening Six Nations rugby match in Rome.

After Italy's Luke McLean went over for a try to put his side 11-10 ahead with just five minutes remaining, replacement flyhalf O'Gara made no mistake from a central position following forward pressure by the 2009 grand slam winners.

Trailing 6-3 at halftime after Mirco Bergamasco's two penalties to Jonathan Sexton's solitary kick, captain Brian O'Driscoll sped through a gap to score the game's opening try just after the restart.

Sexton added the conversion though a series of handling errors almost cost Ireland, who have never lost to Italy since the Mediterranean nation entered the Six Nations in 2000.