‘A Good Start Against Italy Is Crucial’ says Kilcoyne ahead of Irelands Six Nations clash

MUNSTER’S Dave Kilcoyne believes a strong start will be the key to a successful outing for Ireland against Italy in the third round of the Guinness Six Nations on Sunday.

Andy Farrells Irish side are currently sit third in the table following a 29-7 bonus point win over Wales at the Aviva Stadium and their 30-24 defeat away to France, a week later.

This Kieran Crowley coached Italian side have suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of France (37-10) and England (33-0).

The Italians led the French 10-8 during the first half of their recent clash and Kilcoyne acknowledged that Ireland will need to prevent them from gaining early momentum,

“They’ve started very well against teams. They’ve put a lot of teams under pressure at the start, they’ve been unlucky with some results,” said the Munster and Ireland prop. We can only look at ourselves. I try not to look at other teams. You look at yourself, trying to improve yourself and your team as best you can.

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“Italy are on their own mission to try and get better, as are we. Look at someone like Monty Ioane or (Paolo) Garbisi, they’ve these incredible players.”

Kilcoyne made his 200th appearance for Munster in their United Rugby Championship victory over Edinburgh last Friday. He also has accumulated 45 senior caps with Ireland.

The Limerick man will be eager to get back on the pitch this weekend. Regardless of who is selected on the day, his attitude and mentality will remain the same,

“I think if you’ve that negative attitude and it’s ‘why me?’, you don’t survive in this environment. It’s a very honest environment in here. ‘Faz’ gives it to you straight. That’s all you can ask for as a player.

“You’ve got to be coming in here bouncing. This is a place where it’s a high-energy environment, high octane. Everyone bounces off each other.”

When asked about what areas he feels Ireland have improved on over the past 12 months or more, Kilcoyne said he believes they have developed their game across the board.

“I think Irish rugby is in a very healthy state, but it’s up to the lads who get chosen at the weekend to keep pushing the boundaries that the coaches are asking them to push. Give a performance that everyone knows in here we’re capable of giving.”

Ireland are to face Italy on Sunday at 3.00pm in the Aviva Stadium. The Match will be shown on Virgin Media.

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