Six Nations: Schmidt calls for improved performance after win over Italy

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Joe Schmidt 'frustrated' with lack of rhythm from Ireland

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says he was "happy to get the five points but not with the performance" after his side's Six Nations win over Italy.

Ireland trailed 16-12 at half-time in Rome but recovered to secure a 26-16 bonus-point win in Rome to move up to third place in the championship table.

"The bottom line is you want the win and you want the bonus point so we've got that," Schmidt told ITV Sport.

"You have to be fair to Italy. They put a lot of pressure on us."

Schmidt added: "They made the ruck very difficult for Conor a few times and on the back of that, when balls spilled loose and they got opportunities, they broke very very quickly. Their second try was top drawer.

"Some of the time we didn't get the lineout win, sometimes we didn't make the pass accurately enough and other times when we made the break we managed to manufacture an error. We've got to be more accurate than that.

"Johnny [Sexton] took a bit of a bump on his quad but he'll dust himself off, he'll be fine."

Tries by Edoardo Padovani and Luca Morisi helped Italy to their half-time advantage after second row Quinn Roux and Jacob Stockdale had crossed to put Ireland 12-3 ahead.

Scores from Keith Earls and Conor Murray ensured the Irish left Stadio Olimpico with their hopes of retaining the Six Nations title still alive.

Six Nations table

"We know how difficult it is in Rome. Every time we come here where we get an incredible physical battle," said Peter O'Mahony, Ireland's captain for the day.

"Conor [O'Shea] is doing an incredible job with Italy and they're a super rugby team. They put us under pressure massively, so credit to them.

"There is certainly stuff we can do better and stuff we can work hard on over the next couple of weeks before we face France, but five points away from home under a weight of expectation is a good return.

"We knew we needed more accuracy in the second half so we went back to our gameplan, back to the moves that we know so well, and got through some phases.

"We have dug out two away wins now and in the Six Nations that is a hard thing to do," added the Munster flanker, who was named man of the match.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea said his side showed "heart and desire" despite going down to a 20th straight defeat in the Six Nations.

"We just needed a bit of luck and better execution at times," added former Ireland international full-back. "We played with real intensity and I want us to play with ambition and without fear.

"We have to create a level of consistency of performance and if we do that we'll climb back to where we want to be."

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