Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois played host to two European teams who got their Autumn Internationals underway.
The result looked in little doubt from the get-go, with Garry Ringrose almost scoring a try within the first few minutes. Ireland didn’t have to wait long to get on the scoreboard against Italy, with Tadhg Beirne powering over within five yards for an eventual 7-0 lead after just five minutes.
Joe Schmidt’s charges continued to apply pressure, though they were unable to contribute further to their score tally.
Italy didn’t get a sustained period of possession in the Irish half until midway through the first 40.
Once they did, the Italians held court for ten minutes, moving through the phases and remaining patient. But a knock-on just before the Irish try-line undid all their good work.
From the Italian scrum-half’s kick, Andrew Conway caught the ball and made some inroads into Italy’s territory. From there, Jordan Larmour did a wonderful job of shirking the opposition players, setting up Luke McGrath for Ireland’s second try of the evening.
Some sloppy work in defence saw Italy enter the break just seven points down however, with Michele Campagnaro capitalising on a risky Rhys Ruddock pass.
That boost would prove to be temporary.
Ireland stretched the pitch in impressive fashion to end up five yards out. Luke McGrath set up Beirne for his second with Johan Meyer having no chance of stopping him.
No sooner than Italy’s lineout soon after, Larmour picked up a misplaced pass at the halfway line and had acres of space in which to sprint to the line for a 28-7 converted lead, effectively ending Italy’s chances of a comeback.
Substitute Sean Cronin was next to add to the tally, scoring on the 56 minute mark to further punish an increasingly ragged Italian side. Ten minutes later, Ringrose got his deserved try.
Another swift attack from the middle of the park saw the outside centre shake off the challenges of Abraham Steyn and Luca Sperandio to go over the line.
The score was now 49-7, as Ireland delivered the thumping that they threatened in the first half. For good measure, Larmour again wreaked havoc from the halfway line, dancing past no less than four Italian players en route to the try-line as the clock passed the 80 mark for a final 54-7 scoreline.
Next up for the Six Nations champions are a trio of fixtures back home at the Aviva, against Argentina, New Zealand, and then the USA. Tougher tests clearly lie ahead, but this team can take confidence from their clinical nature in the second half today.