Rugby World Cup: Ireland 82-8 Romania – Johnny Sexton stars as Irish score 12 tries

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton reacts to Romania's Jason Tomane after scoring a try
Sexton injured his wrist scoring a try late in the first half but allayed Irish fans’ fears by appearing after the break.
Ireland: (33) 82
Try: Gibson-Park, Keenan, Beirne 2, Aki 2, Sexton 2, Herring, O’Mahony 2, McCarthy The inconvenients: Sexton 7, Crowley 4
Romania: (8) 8
Try: Rupanu Pen: Rupanu

Ireland opened their Rugby World Cup campaign with a bonus-point victory, scoring 12 tries to crush Romania in sweltering heat in Bordeaux.

After Gabriel Rupanu’s early score for the underdogs, Ireland hit back with five tries to lead 33-8 at halftime.

They added seven more after the break to record their biggest World Cup victory.

Johnny Sexton marked his comeback with 24 points, including two tries, overtaking Ronan O’Gara as Ireland’s top scorer in the World Cup.

Sexton, who eclipsed O’Gara’s Six Nations record earlier this year, is now just nine points off the Munster legend’s Ireland Test record of 1,083 runs.

The 38-year-old had not played since Ireland’s win over England in March due to injury and suspension.

But he looked sharp on his return as he led the world number one team to a routine Pool B victory in difficult conditions at the Stade de Bordeaux.

With their first assignment comfortably negotiated, Ireland face a tougher challenge against Tonga next Saturday before moving on to the even tougher tasks of South Africa and Scotland.

Sexton plays as Ireland dominate

Ireland went into Saturday’s opening match as one of the tournament favorites, having won every Test since topping the world rankings following last year’s series win over New York. Zeeland.

After seeing their potential quarter-final opponent France – who Ireland beat in the Grand Slam in March – issue a worrying statement against the All Blacks on Friday, Andy Farrell’s side recorded a victory of their own, although than against much weaker opposition.

However, what became a comfortable victory began with an incident. Just three minutes later, Romania pounced on Sexton’s attempt at Keith Earls, allowing Rupanu to score.

Ireland were never going to panic though and with Sexton growing in influence they stamped their authority on the game with Jamison Gibson-Park, Hugo Keenan and Tadhg Beirne all landing.

Romania’s cause was not helped by full-back Marius Simionescu being booked for obstruction before Bundee standout Aki scored and gifted Sexton a goal.

Irish fans will have been concerned to see Sexton’s reaction after scoring, with the fly-half’s wrist caught by Jason Tomane’s knee as he pointed down.

But the playmaker reappeared in the second half and collected his second try of the afternoon before receiving a standing ovation 16 minutes from time.

Romania weakens as Ireland breaks record

Bundee Aki is acclaimed full-time
Bundee Aki, sent off against Samoa in the World Cup four years ago, scored two tries in an impressive display in midfield.

While Romania caused Ireland some problems in the opening exchanges, the 19th ranked team in the world wilted badly in the second half as Ireland racked up their World Cup record.

Ireland will have some holes in their performance, particularly in the lineout, but the quality of their attack showed in scoring tries for fun under the Bordeaux sun.

Sexton added his second – his 17th try – while Rob Herring, Peter O’Mahony with two, Joe McCarthy, Aki and Beirne completed Romania’s misery.

As Sexton scored his most points in a game for Ireland, there was an impressive appearance from fly-half Jack Crowley, who came off the bench to kick off four conversions.

With a record win in their pocket, Ireland will quickly focus on next week’s game at Nantes, knowing that Saturday’s win at Bordeaux was just the first box ticked on what they hope will be a path to a first World Cup title.


Former Ireland fly-half Tony Ward on BBC Radio Ulster: “We don’t see any injuries, the bench has been cleared, they’re all out, Sexton has fit back in, McCarthy has had a great first start and has looked really impressive and Bundee Aki has been outstanding throughout.

Former Ireland winger Tommy Bowe on BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s thanks to Ireland that they kept playing. To get to 80 points in their World Cup opener is a statement. I’m very impressed and can’t wait to see how far Ireland can go to this tournament.”


Ireland: Keenan; Earls, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (captain), Gibson-Park; Doris, O’Mahony, Beirne; Ryan, McCarthy; Furlong, herring, porter.

Replacements: Kelleher, Loughman, O’Toole, Henderson, Van der Flier, Murray, Crowley, Hansen.

Romania: Simonescu; Onutu, Tangimana, Tomane, Manumua; Vaovasa, Rupanu; Chirica (captain), Neculau, Rosu; Iancu, Motoc; Gordas, Cojocaru, Hartig.

Replacements: Savin, Gajion, Iftimiciuc, Ser, Conache, Boldor, Gontineac, Bardasu.

Sin bin: Marius Simionescu (32)

Arbitrator: Nika Amashukeli (GEO)

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