Wingers Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls both scored a brace of tries as Ireland clinched a bonus-point 44-10 win over Romania at Wembley on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The emphatic result enables Ireland to edge ahead of France at the top of Pool D, and they should feel confident as they now get set for their big matches still to come against Italy and Les Bleus.
Ireland made all the early running, but it took until the 19th minute before they broke down Romania’s defence, with Bowe finishing off an excellent try in the corner. To be fair, though, outstanding fullback Simon Zebo did look to have scored moments earlier, but he was correctly adjudicated to have had a foot in touch.
With Ireland dominating proceedings, Earls found himself in space after a beautiful long pass from Zebo just before the half-hour mark, with the left winger darting down the touchline to score another well-worked try as Ireland opened up an 18-3 lead.
Calm, composed and in control, Ireland’s statistics at half-time told a story, with the green machine enjoying 76% and 71% ascendancy in terms of territory and possession respectively.
Ireland kept the scoreboard ticking over early in the second half, with Earls collecting a neat grubber from scrumhalf Eoin Reddan to score the simplest of tries.
Soon after, Earls took a knock and had to prematurely leave the field, but the job was largely done, with Bowe going over to wrap up the bonus point just after the hour mark.
Earls’ replacement, Rob Kearney, then scored Ireland's fifth try almost immediately after as the floodgates began to open, while Chris Henry added another one not long after.
Yet, to Romania's credit, the minnows kept battling way, and veteran lock Ovidiu Tonita scored a late consolation try.
Ireland – Tries: Tommy Bowe (2), Keith Earls (2), Rob Kearney, Chris Henry. Conversions: Ian Madigan (4). Penalty: Madigan (2).
Romania – Try: Ovidiu Tonita. Conversion: Florin Vlaicu. Penalty: Valentin Calafeteanu.
Ireland – 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Chris Henry, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Nathan White, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Subs: Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Rob Kearney.
Romania – 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Adrian Apostol, 13 Paula Kinikinilau, 12 Csaba Gal, 11 Ionut Botezatu, 10 Michael Wiringi, 9 Valentin Calafeteanu, 8 Daniel Carpo, 7 Mihai Macovei (c), 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Ovidiu Tonita, 4 Valentin Poparlan, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Andrei Radoi, 1 Andrei Ursache.
Subs: 16 Mihaita Lazar, 17 Otar Turashvili, 18 Alexandru Tarus, 19 Johannes van Heerden, 20 Stelian Burcea, 21 Florin Surugiu, 22 Florin Ionita, 23 Florin Vlaicu.