Flyhalf Joey Carbery suffered an ankle injury as Ireland beat Italy 29-10 in Dublin in their first warm-up Test on Saturday ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Carbery, starting instead of world player of the year Johnny Sexton, was carried off the field with half an hour of play remaining after he was trapped under a heap of bodies.
The hosts were without head coach Joe Schmidt who had returned to his native New Zealand due to a family bereavement and made a sloppy start to proceedings in front a meagre crowd at the Aviva Stadium.
Italy claimed an early 5-0 lead after Maxime Mbanda’s 13th-minute unconverted try.
Carbery dotted down five minutes later and converted his own score.
Conor O’Shea’s side then re-took the lead with a Carlo Canna try before two Ireland tries from Dave Kearney and Andrew Conway claimed a 19-10 half-time lead for the home side.
Their advantage was extended five minutes into the second half with Jordi Murphy touching down but Carbery missed the conversion.
The Munster outside-half was then taken off the field on a cart on the 50-minute mark and was replaced by Jack Carty.
Andy Farrell’s side then touched down for a fifth time as substitute scrum-half Kieran Marmion charged down an Ian McKinley attempted clearance with 17 minutes remaining in the final score of the game.
Ireland continue their preparation for the World Cup in two weeks’ time by facing England before travelling to and hosting Wales the following two Saturdays.
They face hosts Japan, Scotland, Russia and Samoa in their pool at the World Cup.
Italy play Russia next Saturday before taking on France on August 30 and England the following Friday, before facing defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Canada in their group.
Tries: Carbery, Kearney, Conway, Murphy, Marmion
Cons: Carbery 2
Tries: Mbanda, Canna
Jordan Larmour, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Chris Farrell,
11 Dave Kearney, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7
Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 Jean Kleyn, 4 Devin Toner, 3
Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Cian Healy, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Tadhg Beirne, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Mike Haley.
Edoardo Padovani, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Marco
Zanon, 11 Giulio Bisegni, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Jimmy
Tuivaiti, 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Giovanni Licata, 5 Dean Budd, (captain), 4
Alessandro Zanni, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Nicola
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Matteo Minozzi.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Tom Foley (England), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)