Ireland V Romania Rugby World Cup 2015

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Ireland V Romania Rugby World Cup 2015 match report – Pool D Game 2

Ireland 44 – Romania 10

At present there’s no show like the Joe show.

Everything and I mean everything is going to plan, which has me, exceedingly worried.

To put Ireland’s opposition into context during yesterday’s pool game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, I feel it is relevant to mention that before the game started, the majority of the Romanian side were taking selfies with their mobile phones as they walked the hallowed turf of Wembley.

Ireland v Romania RWC 2015
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 27: Cian Healy wearing Vivotape P zinc oxide tape of Ireland is tackled by Mihai Macovei (C) of Romania during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Ireland and Romania at Wembley Stadium on September 27, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

I fully understand how special it is to play in a World Cup however; there is a time and a place for memories to be captured. Sixty minutes before kick-off in any sporting context is not an ideal time to be posing for pictures and with the Irish players looking on, it certainly was not the place.

Similar to last week’s game against Canada the result of this game was never going to come into question. For me this tie was nothing more than another opportunity for Joe Schmidt and his backroom staff to fine hone their systematic game plan whilst also affording some members of the squad a chance to prove a point. It is worth mentioning that the only player in the Irish squad not to have had game time now is Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw.

I would be confident if this game had either been Italy or France that Henshaw would have been playing.

It almost seems implausible that after 160 minutes of test rugby that Schmidt still has the same thirty one man squad available to him. Considering what the Welsh are going through in terms of withdrawals due to injury Ireland are living in a dream World. If Warren Gatland loses anymore players he will be calling on second, third and fourth choice players to fill the gaps. Thank god we don’t have these issues to worry about.

Yesterday’s performance was yet another example of just how structured Schmidt is when it comes to breaking down sides. Considering that five out of the six tries scored were by Ireland’s back three, it goes to show that there is still a considerable concern over our midfields inability to create line breaks. Against teams who are going to be better organised in defence, Schmidt is going to have to come up with a midfield combination that has the ability to not only pass accurately under pressure but also gain inroads well beyond the first line of contact.

Yet again Keith Earls fronted up by scoring two tries yesterday however, it was not his scores that afforded him the man of the match award, it was his capacity to break gain lines and off load in extremely crowded situations that captured him the plaudits of the commentators. Partnering the Limerick man’s mesmerising foot work and vision with Henshaw’s blunt force power is a combination that has incalculable options attached to it and must be looked at.

It was feared that the Romanian scrum would be a cause for concern but credit must go to the Irish front five for dealing with it adequately. Apart from avoiding injuries, the other most important aspect of the game yesterday was the sight of Cian Healy starting and coming through the game safe and sound.

Healy, who I would best describe as a mixture between a World War 2 tank and a pit bull terrier did everything he had to do and needs to start again in next week’s game against Italy to build up his match fitness levels. His participation in the knockout stages is going to be a vital cog in Schmidt’s overall master plan.

Having a human wrecking ball like Healy to share the ball carrying duties with his Leinster team mate Sean O’Brien will broaden Schmidt’s armoury of attacking options tenfold. Just imagine the sight of O’Brien and Healy coming at you with nothing in their minds but inflicting as must pain as possible on you. Defences will have no option but to marshal this dynamic duo every time Ireland have possession, thus leaving weaknesses elsewhere.

It is very hard to feel sorry for anybody who makes a World Cup squad because most would give their first born just to be there however, one player that falls into this category is Deven Toner.

Never one to seek the headlines, the 6’10” colossus has given Ireland an incredible lineout platform to work off over the last three years. Honest to the core and never afraid to offer himself as a ball carrier, Toner will more than likely find his endowments surplus to requirements because of Iain Henderson’s rise to form.

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As a player, it is always extremely hard to accept your demise when you have done nothing wrong. The only time it is harder is when you do everything you’re asked to do and it still isn’t good enough. The problem for Toner is that Henderson has probably been Ireland’s standout player in every game he ever featured in and dare I say it but he is even ahead of Paul O’Connell in the current pecking order.

Tommy Bowe’s two try display will do wonders for his confidence albeit, he still has a bit to go in terms of becoming the deadly poacher he was. Whether he is being restricted by Schmidt’s guidelines or is just getting old are only questions he can answer however, the insatiable hunger he once had to go looking for work is just not present at this time.

When the pools were initially drawn many many months ago the game that had alarm bells ringing for me was the Italian match. I don’t know why but it’s the familiarity of playing Italy every year that tells me that this is going to be our first real test.

Their below par performance against Canada on Saturday cannot be viewed as a sign of things to come and if Sergio Parisse is passed fit to play against us you will see a massive increase in their level of performance.

Parisse is to Italy what O’Connell is to Ireland. Both players have the ability to speak with their eyes and when Parisse is on form, he is a game winner all by himself.

I know you can only play what turns up but for me I still haven’t seen the signs that indicate Ireland can progress beyond the quarter finals of this competition. I would love to see us come from behind against a team with credentials (as Wales did). We need to be backed into a corner so we can test our resolve to fight our way out.

Great teams derive from having an ability to win games even when they play like crap and if Irish rugby is to venture into pastures never explored before they must survive a battering of monumental proportions first.

Roll on next week.

A personal overview of the Rugby World Cup (RWC 2015) from Ex Munster and Ireland International David Corkery.

David Corkery

Vivomed Sales Manager – Ireland

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