Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland 44-10 Romania
|Ireland (18) 44|
|Tries: Bowe 2, Earls 2, R Kearney, Henry Cons: Madigan 4 Pens: Madigan 2|
|Romania (3) 10|
|Try: Tonita Con: Vlaicu Pen: Calafeteanu|
Ireland moved back to the top of World Cup Pool D after a bonus-point win over Romania in front of a tournament record attendance of 89,267 at Wembley.
Tries from Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls helped Ireland lead 18-3 at half-time, with Simon Zebo excelling.
Earls's second touchdown after the break saw him equal Brian O'Driscoll's Irish record of seven World Cup tries.
Bowe then got his second try with Chris Henry and Rob Kearney also crossing before Ovidiu Tonita's late reply.
A concern for the Irish was an apparent ankle knock for regular full-back Kearney, who had come on as a replacement, as he scrambled over for Ireland's fifth try.
Bowe, and particularly Zebo, advanced their claims for involvement in Ireland's matches against Italy and France over the next two weekends.
Ian Madigan performed impressively at fly-half, with Henry and Devin Toner also very effective in the pack.
Who put their hand up for Ireland?
The match offered the likes of Zebo, Bowe and lock Toner the opportunity to show their wares.
Zebo, operating at full-back, grabbed his chance with an eye-catching display and was denied a brilliant 14th-minute try for a foot in touch after his own chip and chase. He then set up Earls's first touchdown with a superb long pass.
Bowe, after his nightmare in the warm-up game against England earlier this month, showed impressive strength to run in Ireland's first try and scored another in the second half after Romanian centre Csaba Gal had been sin-binned.
Madigan's goal-kicking - he landed six out of eight - but more importantly his game management suggests he is ahead of Paddy Jackson in the race to be Johnny Sexton's fly-half deputy.
Early Ireland dominance but lacking accuracy
After Romania scrum-half Valentin Calafeteanu cancelled out Madigan's eighth-minute penalty, a series of Zebo charges helped Ireland take control as Bowe's 19th-minute finish was followed by Earls's first touchdown in the 28th minute.
But, despite their complete territorial dominance, Ireland's display was hindered by handling errors and misplaced passes.
Flanker Henry was among those to impress as he made a series of carries, with Toner effective in the line-out and in the loose.
Bonus point secured
Earls equalled the legendary O'Driscoll's Irish record of seven World Cup tries in the 44th minute after being played in by a deft Eoin Reddan kick.
After Gal's sin-binning, Bowe secured the bonus point in the 62nd minute as the Romanians began to tire.
Kearney's try also came during Gal's absence as Zebo's run set up the Leinster star to score - but the sight of the full-back hobbling off after the score was a concern for the Irish.
Henry completed his hard-working afternoon with a 74th-minute try after a perfectly executed line-out maul, although Tonita replied with a consolation score two minutes from time.
Man of the match - Simon Zebo
Zebo did not manage to get on the scoresheet but he looked at his lively best throughout with his range of skills, including his superb pass for Earls's opening try.
A marginal foot-in-touch call denied him what would have been a glorious score after his own chip and chase and his second-half dart set up Kearney's touchdown.
Zebo may not start next weekend but surely will have a part to play for Joe Schmidt's side over the coming weeks.
What is next?
Ireland face Italy at the Olympic Stadium next Sunday knowing a win will nail down a place in the quarter-finals. They then complete their Pool D fixtures against France in Cardiff.
"Next week is the pivotal week," said Ireland coach Schmidt.
"It is where we can qualify ourselves. The game against France just decides who we play in the quarter-final if we can win next week."
- Only Brian O'Driscoll (46) has scored more tries for Ireland in Tests than Tommy Bowe (30).
- Bowe ended a run of seven matches for Ireland without scoring a try - his longest wait.
- Romania have failed to score more than seven points by half-time in each of their past four Tests.
Ireland: Zebo, Bowe, Payne, Cave, Earls, Madigan, Reddan, Healy, Strauss, White, Ryan, Toner, Murphy, Henry, Heaslip, R. Kearney.
Replacements: Jackson for Bowe (56), R. Kearney for Earls (50), McGrath for Healy (54), Cronin for Strauss (60), Furlong for White (64), O'Connell for Ryan (64), O'Brien for Heaslip (60), Murray for R. Kearney (72).
Romania: Fercu, Apostol, Kinikinilau, Gal, Botezatu, Wiringi, Calafeteanu, A. Ursache, Radoi, Ion, Popirlan, Tonita, Lucaci, Macovei, Carpo, Burcea.
Replacements: Ionita for Apostol (54), Vlaicu for Wiringi (69), Surugiu for Calafeteanu (69), Tarus for A. Ursache (54), Turashvili for Radoi (57), Lazar for Ion (69), Burcea for Lucaci (60), van Heerden for Burcea (61).
Sin Bin: Gal (61).
Ref: Craig Joubert (South Africa).
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