Ireland Cruise To Bonus-Point Victory Over Romania
Ireland cruised to a bonus point win over Romania at Wembley, making it two wins from two in their Rugby World Cup campaign and moving them to the top of Pool D.
Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe both displayed ruthless finishing to bag a brace of tries each, with Lynn Howells’ Romania side unable to gain any sort of foothold in front of a world record crowd of 89,267.
With pivotal tests against Italy and France still to come, head coach Joe Schmidt made 12 changes for the clash at Wembley, which included a rest for star fly-half Johnny Sexton.
Ireland wasted no time in asserting their superiority as Bowe andSimon Zebo enjoyed early breaks before Ian Madigan capitalised on a Romania offside to slot home the game’s first penalty.
Schmidt’s team had dominated the opening stages but, with 10 minutes gone, Romania restored parity when scrum-half Valentin Calafeteanu kicked through the posts after Jared Payne failed to roll away from a ruck.
The whole stadium were on their feet moments later, as Ireland thought they had a sensational try when Zebo raced down the wing, kicked through, before collecting and diving over in the corner.
It was a brilliant piece of skill from Zebo but TMO showed the winger to have planted his left foot in touch and the score was ruled out.
Ireland, however, would not be thwarted for long as Madigan kicked another penalty before Bowe scuttled into the corner, this time squeezing just inside the line, for the opening try and Madigan added the extras to give his side a 13-3 lead after 21 minutes.
Earls had taken an excellent high catch in the build-up to Bowe’s score and in the 29th minute, he went from provider to scorer, latching on to a long Zebo pass and speeding straight into the corner for a second Ireland try and his sixth at World Cups.
Madigan struck the post with his conversion from out wide but the Irish were in control and the only surprise was they were unable to extend their 15-point advantage before half-time.
Less than four minutes into the second period, however, Ireland crossed the whitewash again as an agricultural boot up the field from Cian Healy earned a well-placed line-out before Earls gathered a neat grubber from Eoin Reddan to cruise over.
The try was Earls’ seventh at World Cups, making him Ireland’s joint top-scorer with Brian O’Driscoll in the tournament’s history, but the number 11 left the field soon after with what appeared to be a head injury.
Madigan kicked the conversion but while Earls returned to action shortly before the hour mark, the all-important fourth try continued to elude the Irish, who were still dominating territory and possession.
Ireland were then ruthless in their pursuit of a bonus point, with Bowe picking up his second try before Zebo unselfishly played in Rob Kearney to cross the line.
With the clock ticking down the Ireland pack but the squeeze on their tiring opponents, the maul heaving over the line and Chris Henry emerging with the ball.
Source: Irish Times