Schmidt added that flyhalf Ian Madigan could be given a first run at scrumhalf later in the game after being named as emergency cover at number nine behind Murray and Eoin Reddan.
Sexton was key to everything Ireland did, playing deep in the pocket and opting to use a backrow forward as a midfield loop-around target to unleash the risky looking Irish backs in a series of well-oiled moves.
Ireland were satisfied with their performance against Canada in Cardiff on Saturday after losing warm-up games to Wales and England. “He needed to take his opportunities, he did and it was nice to see him score a try at the weekend”.
Madigan, who came off the bench in the Pool D opener, says it’s a “dream” to start for Ireland.
The teams last met 10 years ago at Lansdowne Road, with Ireland emerging 43-12 victors.
Cian Healy makes his first worldwide start since the Six Nations win over Scotland last March. Their defence was also much improved, with their missed tackle count just 14.
Joe Schmidt’s side will relocate to their St George’s Park base in Burton upon-Trent tomorrow and will spend the rest of the week in Staffordshire to prepare for their clash with Romania at Wembley Stadium on Sundayweek.
“As in any match we would be managing players in and out of training, so some guys who may have trained yesterday may have sat out today”.
Fercu is still one try from becoming Romania’s record try-scorer, having been stuck on 28 for 17 tests stretching back more than two years.
Romania showed guts during Wednesday’s 38-11 defeat to France, particularly in the first-half with the scoreline slightly flattering Les Bleus at the end, but with such a quick turnaround they face a challenge to cause Ireland problems.
Nor is it the strongest Irish selection, which will make it that bit more hard for a host of individuals whose World Cup could be defined by this game, with the likes of Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo springing to mind, while for others they’ll have a gut feeling that this might be the only time they play in this World Cup.
One feels Jared Payne has been given game time at second centre in a bid to boost his attacking game. Jamie Heaslip will captain the side in the absence of O’Connell.
Darren Cave 11. Keith Earls 10. Keith Earls. Ian Madigan.
The towering Devin Toner, ever present in the Six Nations but who looks to have fallen behind Iain Henderson in the pecking order, starts at lock.