From IrishRugby.ie

A solid performance laced with three well-worked tries ensured Ireland made a lively start to the 2010 Championship, and new head coach Kevin West was encouraged by the manner in which his team defeated the gritty Italians.

“We are delighted with the win – any win in the Six Nations is always welcome,” he told IrishRugby.ie.

“When you are coming in cold, and you haven’t played opposition like that it always good to get a win, and we are delighted with it.

“We started really well I felt, perhaps once or twice we didn’t select the right decision, but that happens.

“Then when Italy had a period of supremacy in the first half I was delighted with our defence, I was happy with them all the way through, they had opportunities, and we had to scramble, but we defended well.”

There was plenty of expansive rugby from Ireland too, and West acknowledged that a running style is favoured.

“We did show a willingness to move the ball, and that is what we want to do, that is our game-plan.

“So, we are certainly going to try to continue doing that. It will take some time for us to make progress, but we were happy with how we played, and in the second half we started to apply some pressure.”

The New Zealander is enjoying life with this rapidly improving Irish outfit, and believes that the future glimmers with promise as more players are gaining international experience.

Four players in Friday’s starting line-up made their senior debuts – wingers Nora Stapleton and Alison Miller, hooker Chris Fanning and lock Marie Louise Reilly – while Ulster full-back Eliza Downey also came on as a replacement to win her first Ireland cap.

West added: “I think this is a fantastic role, I love the role. They are a fantastic group of athletes to work with, they are so professional in a non-monetary sense, and they are a pleasure to work with.

“We are encouraged by this victory which was achieved with five new caps – that is significant for Ireland as well.

“The girls who missed out will come into the reckoning next week (against France), and they will bring experience in too so we are starting to develop a bigger squad.

“That is with an eye towards the World Cup later this year, but we have taken it upon ourselves that we need to develop Women’s rugby in Ireland as a national team.”

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