Ireland’s bid to finish top of Pool D was strengthened as they made it back-to-back five-point wins with a comfortable bonus point victory against Romania in front of a 90,000 crowd at Wembley.
The Irish led 18-3 at half-time after Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls crossed the whitewash, with fly-half Ian Madigan making up the other eight points with two penalties and a conversion.
After the break, Ireland touched down again through Earles for his seventh Rugby World Cup try of all-time, moving him level with Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll.
Joe Schmidt’s side then secured the bonus point when Bowe touched down a second, before Rob Kearney and Chris Henry touched down tries to add gloss to the result. Madigan, who was standing in for Jonny Sexton, took his total for the day to 14 points with two further conversions and a penalty in the second half.
Romania’s ten points were spread between Ovidiu Tonita, who touched down the Oaks only try while Florin Vlaicu kicked the conversion and Valentin Calafeteanu a penalty respectively.
What comes next:
Ireland takes on Italy next Sunday at the Olympic Stadium as they look to make it three successive Rugby World Cup bonus-point victories in a row. Meanwhile, Romania returns to action with a winnable match against Canada a week on Tuesday at the Leicester City Stadium.
Man of the Match- Simon Zebo
Fullback Simon Zebo made a claim for a starting spot more regularly with a fantastic all-around performance. The versatile back displayed a great variety of skills with pace, silky footwork and well-timed passing, setting up two of Ireland’s tries. He may not start next weekend but surely will have a part to play for Joe Schmidt’s side over the coming weeks.
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).