Rugby: Ireland in easy victory over Samoa

Full time: Ireland 35, Samoa 8.

Ireland scored their biggest victory over a disappointing Samoan side at Lansdowne Road, running in four tries to one in the process.

Ronan O’Gara opened Ireland’s account with an early penalty kick, which was cancelled out by a similar kick by E Va’a.

Ireland’s well drilled forwards began to dominate the set plays and after Gary Longwell fielded a lineout ball on 20 minutes the pack gathered and drove over the line, where Frankie Sheehan was awarded the five points. Three first half penalties by O’Gara saw Ireland comfortably ahead 16-3 at the interval.

The contest was effectively over six minutes into the second half, when full-back Jeremy Staunton crashed over for the try after a wonderful long pass by O’Gara, who added the conversion.

Samoa hit back with an electric break from their own half by Sititi, who fed inside before So'oalo scored the try to reduce the Irish lead. But Ireland pressed ahead thanks to a kick through by Brian O’Driscoll, and Geordan Murphy won the race for the five points.

With time running out a sweeping move saw Tyrone Howe touch down in the corner and O’Gara landed the difficult conversion. O’Gara described the performance as "workmanlike" but Ireland are sure to face a stiffer challenge against New Zealand next Saturday.

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