In a devastating nine-try win, CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy both scored hat-tricks in Ireland's 63-10 triumph over Conor O'Shea's Italy side.
Ireland get the start they want
The game began with Ireland in control, something that was in stark contrast from last weekend's rather limp beginning. The pure power of the Irish continued to force the Italians backwards and a series of penalties were constantly and consistently allowing Ireland to dictate the play as they wanted.
Jamie Heaslip, who was standing in as skipper for Rory Best, put the squeeze on with relentless scrums. The first 15 minutes of pressure finally told as wide ball found Keith Earls free to trundle over in the corner for an early and deserved lead. Paddy Jackson, to no-one's surprise, slotted the kick straight through the uprights.
Italy would respond immediately, however, as Italy were handed an immediate way back into the game thanks to Irish indiscipline. A Carlo Canna penalty saw the hosts reduce the deficit, as well as giving the 10 some early kicking confidence at the Stadio Olimpico.
That proved to be mere momentary respite as a 20-phase Irish play eventually paid dividends. Good early runs from Robbie Henshaw made the necessary inroads and a narrow Italy defence was punished by Simon Zebo's pass out with to CJ Stander. The Munsterman crossed comfortably in the corner, with Jackson adding the extras.
Italy find it tough as Ireland earn bonus point
Zebo was making the runs that Ireland needed him to, and those big gains helped Ireland to their third try before half an hour had gone. Joe Schmidt's side went through the phases and exploited Italy's lack of width as Rob Kearney's delayed pass allowed Earls the freedom to stroll in. Jackson's kicking was, again, perfect from the touchline.
But back came Italy with a well-executed piece of play that forced a penalty and then penalty try from the Ireland defence. The initial penalty was given for collapsing the maul and the resulting line-out and maul saw the Italians striding towards the line at pace, before Ireland went in at the side to bring the maul down. Glen Jackson was left with little choice other than to award the penalty try as Canna kicked over the conversion.
Ireland would have the last laugh before the break and would secure the first Six Nations' bonus point for try scoring after Stander crossed for his second of the game. It was a simple try that played to the Irish strengths. From the line-out the ball was eventually moved to Stander and Jackson's kick earned Ireland an 18-point lead at the break.
Ireland see out the second half with ease
The Irish attack didn't let up after the restart and Stander grabbed his hat-trick within six minutes of the second half start. He collected Conor Murray's pass before turning on the pace and style to beat a poor and disorganised Italian defence to score a try that any of the Irish backs would enjoy. Jackson kept up his 100% record with the conversation.
Replacements began to make their way onto the field after that and, as a result, the game began to breakdown and even out somewhat. Italy saw more of the ball but it was scant consolation as Ireland looked dangerous when they came forward. A superb move saw Jackson try to feed Craig Gilroy on the wing, but the pass was a touch too heavy.
Italy's stubborn nature in terms of kicking the ball into touch and building from a line-out was to prove fatal. Soon after electing to keep the ball in play, a knock-on presented the ball to Ireland and once possession was with Gilroy, he weaved his way round a tired defence to cross over under the posts to make Jackson's job from the tee a formality.
There would be more to come in the final 10 minutes, with the third-from-last try the highlight. As Jackson popped a pass into his hands, Gary Ringrose danced around weary tackles before showing a superb burst of pace to take him beyond the final few defenders to end the game in style. Jackson made it seven from seven in a fine kicking showing.
Not to be outdone by Stander, Gilroy recorded a 12-minute hat-trick by notching two scores in the final two minutes. The first saw him pounce on Jackson's kick behind the line before showing a turn of pace, while the ninth and final try saw him cross in the corner following Stander's strong carry. Both conversions were calmly knocked over.
By virtue of playing first this weekend, the Irish top the table ahead of Wales, Scotland and England. Italy, however, remain the only side yet to score a point this championship.