IRISH HEAD coach Andy Farrell feels that the rule that reduced Italy to 13 men in Ireland's 57-6 win in the Six Nations this weekend "just weird".
The tournament whipping boys suffered their 35th defeat in a row and were made to play with 13 with 20 minutes after substitute Hame Faiva was dismissed having just replaced fellow hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi due to injury.
Those premature departures led to uncontested scrums and, under governing body guidelines, necessitated the removal of a second Italian player, with No 8 Toa Halafihi the man sacrificed.
The contest ended with Ireland scoring nine tries without coming out of first second gear.
Micheal Lowry in his first start scored a brace, James Lowe touched down and a handful of tries from Ryan Baird and co put Ireland back in contention for the title.
Italy just got someone sent of for this tackle then got told they had to go down to 13 men because they didn’t have a hooker to replace the man who was sent of, so now playing with 13 for the rest of game!
What a stupid rule!🤯#IREvITA #Rugbyunion pic.twitter.com/wnVHIXXZYr
— Skyrugby (@sky_rugby) February 27, 2022
Braam Steyn was sin-binned for the final five minutes,which reduced Italy to 12, leaving Ireland head coach Farrell to reflect on a strange afternoon.
There's not many times we've played a Test match against 12 players, so there's plenty we can take away from it," he said.
"It's just weird [the law]. We understand why the rule was brought in but at the same time I suppose, in situations like that, occasions like that, it'll bring the rule back to everyone's attention and they'll look at it.
"Right, Italy were trying to slow the game down, it's what everyone would have done.
"When you've got uncontested scrums for so long in the game, everyone's legs are nice and fresh and it's the reason Italy were tenacious in defence, even when they went to 12 men."
Ireland are chasing France after losing 30-24 two weeks ago and points could become crucial in the race.
Ireland captain Peter O' Mahony felt Ireland could have scored more despite the game being over after 20 minutes.
We want to be ruthless but we weren't, certainly, in the last 20 minutes of the first half and parts of the second half," he said.
"We weren't accurate and we should have made life more difficult for a team that was down to 13 and 12 players at one stage.
"So you want to be ruthless, but at times our inaccuracy lets us down."
In other news Micheal Lowry scored two tries on his debut, which delighted Farrell
He was great. He was lively and he was as brave as we knew he was going to be.
"Getting the two tries and then making the space to get his third and then passing it on to his mate James Lowe in the corner typifies what Mikey's all about.
"Everyone involved in the squad is absolutely made up for Mikey and his mum and his sister and his girlfriend - it's a big day for them."
Ireland will play England on the 12th of March in Twickenham
Michael Lowry is living his childhood dream after his two tries helped Ireland to a convincing Guinness Six Nations victory against Italy! ☘️ #GuinnessSixNations
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 27, 2022