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09th Sep 2023

Ireland vs. Romania: All the biggest moments, talking points and player ratings

Patrick McCarry

Ireland player ratings

Ireland’s World Cup odyssey began in Bordeaux with an 82-8 win against Romania.

Ireland went into their World Cup opener with a pretty stacked deck, after Andy Farrell named most of his frontliners in his match-day XV to take on the Eastern Europeans. Ireland were on a 13-game winning streak and will be looking to keep that going at Matmut Stadium.

Peter O’Mahony, Bundee Aki, Peter O’Mahony and Tadhg Beirne all scored braces as Ireland ran in 12 tries to secure their record tournament win. Here are our ratings.


Hugo Keenan – 8

Was ripping it up for the cause again. Made huge metres with a handful of impressive carries. Bagged a first half try and ended with 167 metres gained off 15 carries.

Keith Earls – 6

Won his side a turnover and went about his business with little fuss. Not much he could do with that opening Romania try.

Garry Ringrose – 6

Got about the place and looked in decent nick. Featured much more in attack, of course. Missed one tackle with his patented shoot-up into the line, to frazzle the Romanians. Late assist for Beirne’s second.

Bundee Aki – 8

Looked really good for Ireland. Scored a nice try and could have had a hat-trick if a couple of passes stuck. Teed up a couple of tries with nice bursts and passes. Rammed through for a late try as Romania flagged in the baking sun. Ended up gaining 172 metres off his carries.

James Lowe – 7

Was enjoying himself out there. Showed up in a lot of promising attacks. Will admonish himself for not connecting with a couple of passes. Was still running and gunning, late on.

Johnny Sexton – 8

The hit-out he was seeking will do him big favours. Put a smidge too much on an early grubber that sold Earls short. His passing and awareness was key in two early tries, and he helped himself to a couple more. Won a turnover for his side, too.

Jamison Gibson-Park – 7

Involved in an early attacking mix-up with Lowe, but was otherwise slick. Picked his passes well and made life easier for his teammates.

Andrew Porter – 7

Made some strong carries and ploughed through a couple of tackles. Couple of nice passes too.

Rob Herring – 7

Crashed over for his 5th Test try. Early line out wobbles but they eventually got a handle on it. 

Tadhg Furlong – 7

Showed off his slick handling in a few attacks. Good hit-out.

Joe McCarthy – 8

Won his side a couple of breakdown turnovers. Knocked at the door on a few occasions before he cruised over for a late try.

James Ryan – 6

Lineout creaked a couple of times but Ireland fixed it on the fly. Stuck all his tackles and was tidy enough.

Tadhg Beirne – 8

Moved to blindside and showed he can shift about in the role. Couple of strong carries and dived over in the corner for a try. Grabbed another in time added on.

Peter O’Mahony – 7

Helped himself to a try and got stuck in at the breakdown to toss a spoke in Romanian wheels. Slid over for a late score in the corner. Impressive kick-off take, later on.

Caelan Doris – 7

Cantered about and did a fine job. Made 32 metres off four carries. Won a turnover and beat four defenders on carries.


Jeremy Loughman (for Porter ’50) – 6

Rónan Kelleher (for Herring ’50) – 6

Tom O’Toole (for Furlong ’50) – 6

Iain Henderson  (for Ryan ’55) – 7

Josh van der Flier (for Doris ’55) – 6

Conor Murray (for Gibson-Park ’60) – 7

Mack Hansen (for Earls ’60) – 7

Click on the key point you want to read about, or just keep scrolling to see updates in our live hub.

Ireland player ratings

James Ryan preview and Ireland player ratings from warm-ups

Heading into Saturday’s game in Bordeaux, Leinster and Ireland lock James Ryan addressed the predicted match-day weather of 30-degrees and higher. There will be a ‘cooling’ break in each half, allowing players to rehydrate.

“We’ve had some good [heat] exposure throughout the summer in terms of, we had a training camp in Portugal, which was great for us,” Ryan told reporters, in France.

“We did a huge block of physical work over there and we were over in Biarritz and trained hard there too. I’d like to think we’ve gotten more used to the heat but you can’t hide from it. We’ve talked about it, kick off [mid afternoon] and probably the hottest part of the day.

“For us it can’t be an excuse. We’ve got to be able to manage the heat and that’s definitely the expectations from the coaches as well.”

Looking back at our Ireland player ratings for the warm-up games, it gives us an idea of who is in form and who needs to blow off the last remaining cobwebs.

Jacob Stockdale, who did not make the final squad, and Caelan Doris were the top performers in the win over Italy. Against England, Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier were the top dogs. Hansen did well against Samoa, along with Ryan Baird and Conor Murray.

Ireland take on Romania at Matmut Stadium in Bordeaux from 2:30pm on Saturday, September 9.


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