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Three key points from Ireland v Romania

REACTION: Ireland recorded their best-ever World Cup victory (82-8) over Romania in Bordeaux at the weekend.

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The going only gets tougher, however, for Andy Farrell and his world No.1 ranked side in Pool B with Tonga, defending champions South Africa and Scotland to come.

AFP Sports picks out three things learned from the match:

Farrell makes his point

It may have looked like one boxer pummelling an opponent who was out on his feet as the Irish added try after try in the second half but in Farrell’s opinion it could prove pivotal.

The 48-year-old former Rugby League star said the players had absorbed how important it was to score as many points as possible.

“They understand straight from the start with the way that they prepare, the ownership they had during the week,” said Farrell after the 12-try show.

“Points matter. We don’t know what different ramifications will happen in two, three or four weeks’ time.

“It’s important that we got off to a good start and rack up a few points, and that was the aim.”

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In the event of sides finishing level on points, their final standings would be decided by the points difference in the head-to-head, after which, if still undecided, the points difference in all pool matches would be decisive.

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Sexton risk against Tonga?

Johnny Sexton loves breaking records and will enjoy his moment in the sun in Bordeaux – indeed it was so hot he said some of his teammates felt like they were burning.

At 38, he became the oldest man to play for Ireland and also passed flyhalf predecessor Ronan O’Gara as their leading World Cup points scorer.

He now sits just nine points off O’Gara’s overall Irish points record (1,083) which should fall to him before he hangs up his boots when Ireland’s campaign ends.

Whether it comes against Tonga next Saturday depends on Farrell selecting him.

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With the Springboks to come a week later the head coach may feel it best to rest him and include understudies Jack Crowley and Ross Byrne in the matchday squad.

“You see the team that Tonga have and we know their threat,” said Sexton

“They’ve had this weekend off and they’ll be just prepped for our game, they’ll have had two or three weeks to focus on our game, they’ve said that publicly.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge for us and we’re going to have to be ready.”

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Harsh lesson for young Romanians

Respected coach, Vern Cotter, acting as a consultant for Romania during the tournament, told AFP ahead of the match that he drew comfort from what a French player had once said.

“He said that he learned more from a match with Ireland than he did in three years of training,” said Cotter.

The Romanians will hopefully have done so after such a pasting and there were signs that in their flyhalf Hinckley Vaovasa they have a player of some quality.

The 24-year-old produced one wonderful moment in the second half, taking the ball from behind his posts to the halfway line, side-stepping several Irish players.

Cotter hopes they will carry on learning with the daunting challenges of South Africa and Scotland to come and be battle-ready to beat Tonga in their final match.

‘The Oaks’ coach Eugen Apjok would go only so far in agreeing with part of Cotter’s optimistic take.

“It is a very young team, all of them in their first World Cup,” said the 51-year-old.

“It was also the first time for them in front of so many spectators. It will serve them well in the future.”

 

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