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Ireland 21-27 Italy: Head coach Scott Bemand rues lack of accuracy in home defeat

Ireland head coach Scott Bemand was left to rue a "lack of clinical accuracy" in his side's 21-27 defeat by Italy in the Six Nations.

Ireland started the game brightly in Dublin before Italy took control and led 22-7 ahead midway through the second half.

Bemand's side mounted a late fightback to claim a losing bonus point, but it wasn't enough as they fell to a second successive defeat in the tournament.

"We're pretty disappointed," he said.

Bemand added: "We had plenty of possession and plenty of territory, but we just lacked that clinical accuracy when it really mattered.

"The first couple of tries [they scored], they were given entries into our half through double penalties.

"Italy are a good team, but I think we put more than enough out there to score more points than we did and we have to get used to being under pressure and take our chances when we earn them."

Ireland went ahead through a penalty try on seven minutes before two Vittoria Vecchini tries and another from Valeria Fedrighi gave Italy a commanding lead.

Ireland rallied with a Neve Jones try before Aura Muzzo sealed the bonus point with a fourth Italian try.

A breakaway Katie Corrigan score gave Ireland late hope of a first Six Nations win in almost two years, but Italy held on for victory.

Bemand acknowledged that there are obvious areas for improvement, but that he was proud that his side battled to the very end in front of a record crowd for an Ireland Women's Six Nations game at the RDS.

"We have things in our control that we can improve, such as the discipline, handling errors and the breakdown.

"We want to show the people of Ireland that we are here to fire shots. The game hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, but we have fired shots and we'll get better at that."

'We are gutted'

Ireland captain Sam Monaghan, who returned from injury to make her first start for Ireland in this year's competition, conceded that the Irish players are disappointed that their late comeback fell just short.

After their spirited display in the opener game, a 38-17 loss against France, Ireland had targeted this game as one they could pick up that elusive first win in the tournament since they beat Scotland in April 2022.

But Monaghan admitted that their composure in key moments alluded them, something she says they must address ahead of their next game against Wales on 13 April.

"We are gutted, we had every belief that we would win that game," she said.

"I can't fault the intent from the girls, we fought to the end, but we weren't clinical in the right areas of the pitch. We need to be more clinical when we are on top of them.

"Our handling errors let us down in pressure situations so we need to work on that. That is going to be in the forefront of our minds ahead of Wales."