In an uncertain world, a Six Nations match against Italy has a familiar feel.
After winning three of the first four encounters against an Irish team that is gripped by professionalism, Italy recorded 17 consecutive defeats in 2013 in the green. Unforgettable win in 2013 against Declan Kidney.
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Since that shocking setback, normal service has resumed. Nine games, nine wins, some pretty much embarrassing. More than five and a half years after the Italians recorded a victory in the tournament, the average scoreline reads 42-11 in favor of Ireland.
With that in mind, Saturday’s clash with Azuri at Aviva Stadium will see the resumption of international rugby. A bonus point win will send the home side to the top of the standings a week before the trip to Paris.
Head coach Andy Farrell will be without some players, especially as Jordan Larmore and the Six Nations try to win the title, new ideas are still on the team.
The defeats to Scotland and Wales in February led to defeats to England, but Farrell, along with attacking coach Mike Kat, will try to sharpen the offensive, which at times seems to be sharp against strong defenses.
It’s all about playing into space when it’s the right thing to do
Ringross is ready for the fourth shootout against Italy, and although he’s excited about the camp’s innovation, it’s not a case of unloading against opponents who scored just 22 points in the first three rounds.
“It’s not a game that is implemented or promoted, but the right thing at the right time to take advantage of any opportunities,” the 25-year-old said.
“It’s about playing into space when it’s the right thing to do.
“It always encourages us to keep our heads up and play.
“The trainers definitely give us the equipment and guide us on what to do in certain situations.”
Today the cartoon huts included players. Peter O’Malley and Chris Farrell joined the 35-man team. Kovid-19 completed self-isolation following a positive test for two of their provincial team members.
Larmore’s loss is a major blow to Ireland’s attacking game plan. The 23-year-old was sidelined for 16 weeks and was expected to remain in the 15 jersey for Ireland.
“I dare say for him, he sees and does things we can’t do a lot,” Ringross said on Saturday to win his thirtieth Ireland cap.
The Covid-19 restrictions mean that players always “wear” their masks, while social distance means that there is less contact between players than training and meetings.
He is well aware of the impact that a return to sports can have on ordinary people.
“We are in a very privileged position and we are fortunate to be able to do our jobs together.
“We had the opportunity to give a lift to those who were going through a difficult time. We have a responsibility to do that.”
Follow Ireland v Italy (Saturday 3.30pm) with our live blog on RTE Sport Online and the RTE News app or listen to the Saturday Sport live commentary on RTE Radio. In RTÉ2 and RTÉ Radio1 Extra.