In front of 89,267 fans at Wembley, a record Rugby World Cup attendance, Ireland made light of 12 changes to their starting XV to record a comfortable 44-10 win. But they didn’t, and no matter which player they lost through injury, no matter what adversity they faced, Wales just kept on coming back for more.
Given the lengthy nature of his lay-off – Healy had not played since April – the 27-year-old limited any lingering effects of his spell on the sidelines better than could have been expected but Jack McGrath has performed admirably in his absence.
His sublime offload gave the fleet-footed Simon Zebo the chance to show his skill down the left flank and although a try was disallowed for a foot in touch, Ireland did not have to wait much longer to cross the whitewash. I would be confident if this game had either been Italy or France that Henshaw would have been playing. It’s a tough competition, there are going to be injuries. Thank God we don’t have these issues to worry about.
Keith Earls, Ireland, is congratulated by team-mate Simon Zebo after scoring his side’s second try. The Limerick man then sprinted untouched for the score.
Romania held the Irish at bay for the next 15 minutes but referee Craig Joubert eventually lost patience with a few gamesmanship by the Romanians and sin-binned Csaba Gal on the hour mark.
“But he’s the talisman, he spurs everything good about Italy”. His participation in the knockout stages is going to be a vital cog in Schmidt’s overall master plan.
Without hesitation she accepted and the two hugged as his team mates applauded behind the couple. Defences will have no option but to marshal this dynamic duo every time Ireland have possession, thus leaving weaknesses elsewhere.
The match offered the likes of Zebo, Bowe and lock Toner the opportunity to show their wares.
“I don’t think you are ever totally satisfied, because if you’re satisfied you’ve had the flawless game”, he explained.
One aspect of Zebo’s play that needed work was cleaning out at rucks, an onerous task that comes the way of backs more closely involved in the heavy lifting upfront. “I’m fortunate to have lots of them and it’s just a case of briefly reminding yourself of that and getting on with the job in hand”.
It took 33 minutes until the game’s first scrum, normally Romania’s stronghold, but they were well pressured by Ireland who completely dominated possession (71 per cent) and territory (76 per cent) throughout the first half. There were examples of Ireland not attacking the inside shoulder when they had the advantage numerically and simply executing the draw-and-pass; Tommy Bowe’s first try a case in point.
Parisse is to Italy what O’Connell is to Ireland. Two wins with two bonus points is what Ireland expected to achieve from their opening games.
“I was able to put it behind me early enough and the last week or two I’ve trained well enough”. We need to be backed into a corner so we can test our resolve to fight our way out.