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27th Sep 2015

Munster’s backline flyers top our player ratings as Romanians roasted

Now for the real stuff

Patrick McCarry

Ireland secured a 44-10 victory over Romania in front of a recorded World Cup attendance of 89.267, mostly green supporters.

Joe Schmidt’s men scored six tries but the Eastern Europeans will be pleased with their effort and late consolation try.

Here’s how we rated the men in green.

Simon Zebo – 9

Sensational. Had a wonder-try ruled out for a foot in touch. Teed up Bowe for his score in the corner and his looping pass for Earls’ score was a piece of art. Very unselfish in teeing up Rob Kearney for his score.

Tommy Bowe – 8

Back to his best. Started with an early knock-on but was near flawless after that. Dominant in the air and showed great strength and awareness for his diving try in the corner. Did what wingers do by staying patient, out wide, before his second try.

A try for Bowe

Jared Payne – 7

If this man can sort out – of stop – his kicking game we could have a star at 13. Showed off his brilliant offloading skills and was teak tough in defence [nine tackles landed]. Street-wise.

Darren Cave – 6

Subdued in comparison to his backline buddies. Went close in the second-half but was held up just shy of the posts. Nice pass to Madigan for Rob Kearney’s try.

Keith Earls – 8

As if it was in doubt – Keith Earls is back and tearing it up. His offload for that Zebo non-score was O’Driscoll-esque. Another that enjoyed being allowed off the leash when it came to offloading. Showed serious gas for his first try. Equalled Brian O’Driscoll’s World Cup try-scoring record [7] with his second.

Ian Madigan – 6

Early penalty helped him settle but he had a clearing kick charged down and temporarily went into his shell. His re-starts were iffy at times. Place-kicking was very good, including some fine touchline conversions. Lovely decoy run to make space for Bowe’s second.

Eoin Reddan – 6

A box-kick out on the full took the steam out of Ireland’s early pressure. Passes can occasionally be too high – forcing carriers to halt their runs. Lovely dink to set up Earls for his second. Lovely, fizzed pass for Bowe’s second.

Cian Healy – 8

2015 Rugby World Cup Group D, Wembley Stadium, London, England 27/9/2015 Ireland vs Romania IrelandÕs Cian Healy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The ball-carrying beast. Threw himself into tackles from the off and called a lot of ball on himself. Not many chances to pack down in the first half. Wisely passed, rather than trucking up, to allow Bowe the space to score. What about that 60-metre kick to touch too?! Came off to a standing ovation.

Richardt Strauss – 6

Like throwing candy to very tall babies in the line-out. Made a couple of strong carries but was turned over once in the Romanian 22.

Nathan White – 5

Did not get a chance to test his scrummaging against the Romanians until the 33rd minute. Made one carry and seven tackles.

Donnacha Ryan – 6

His sheer strength on the ball cannot be underestimated. Asked to carry a lot of ball into hordes of white shirts and, more often than not, made ground.

Donnacha Ryan with Valentin Calafeteanu 27/9/2015

Devin Toner – 7

Started the second-half with a restart claim and bullocking charge. Stole one line-out and soared for Ireland’s attacking darts. Led the tackle count for his team.

Jordi Murphy – 6

His presentation at the breakdown allowed for quick ruck ball. Stood up to the physical Romanian pack. Took an eager part in ruck clear-outs and the kick-chase.

Chris Henry – 6

Penalised at the beginning of the second half to spoil a rousing start. Ireland were counter-rucked too often so Henry will hold his hand up for a sizeable portion of that. Got over for a late try after a successful rolling maul.

Jamie Heaslip – 7

Got his team on the front-foot all afternoon. Stole a lineout, offloaded well at one stage and made 32 metres on 12 carries. Typical Heaslip outing.


Paddy Jackson – 6

[On for Payne ’58] Had a run at out-half as Madigan dropped back. Sharp pass in the lead-up to Kearney’s try.

Rob Kearney – 6

[On for Earls ’64] Straight off the bench as a concussion test replacement for Earls and was kick-chasing and charging down like a hero. Came off the bench, properly, in the final quarter and scored within 60 seconds. Limped off minutes later.


Jack McGrath – 5

[On for Healy ’53] Got himself stuck into a couple of rucks and scrums as Romania wilted.

Sean Cronin – 6

[On for Strauss ’59] Oddly missed tackle on his 22 as he lost his footing. Bravely threw to the back of the line for Henry’s mauled try.

Sean O’Brien – 5

[On for Heaslip ’59] Lovely defensive chop in his 22 but would have liked to open up with ball-in-hand.

Paul O’Connell – 5

[On for Ryan ’63] Wanted 30 minutes of action but got half that. Tried to pack as many tackles as possible into that time.

Tadhg Furlong – 5

[On for White ’63] Not much grunt work to do by the time he came on.

Conor Murray – 5

[On for Kearney ’70] Had a rare outing on the left wing after Kearney limped off.

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