Early Ireland fire fizzles out

Ireland 39,Romania 8

Never before have cash-starved Romania looked better attired, but the new strip they wore merely flattered to deceive until coach Bernard Charreyre had a chance to speak to the players at half-time.

They trailed 32-3 at the interval but came out with all guns blazing and exposed Ireland to the rigours of a very physical game.

Ireland hardly covered themselves in total glory in the opening half but they did produce enough to suggest they would canter to an easy victory.

In scoring terms, they won the second half 7-5 but only on the basis of scoring a try from a glaringly offside position.

Charreyre’s pep talk at the break

obviously had more impact because Romania showed a marked improvement and Ireland lost the plot


While there was never a remote chance of Romania overtaking them, Ireland struggled to win possession and then struggled to keep it.

Captain Anthony Foley admitted it had been a major disappointment. What might have been a day of high achievement for Foley in the Munster fortress turned out to be a


He said: “We will have to look seriously at how much possession we turned over during the first half and at the amount of penalties we conceded in the second.

“Teams do tend to give away penalties when they are on the back foot and we were on the back foot a lot in that second half. I am disappointed at the number we conceded though.”

Another disappointment for Foley and for the crowd was the way Romania managed to slow down ruck ball. “We need to clear out these rucks much faster. Romania frustrated us and then had ample time to organise their defence so that the opportunities to break through were cut.

“We went out there with a clear picture of what we wanted to do but didn’t ever quite manage it.

“I think we became a bit too frustrated as a result.”

That was a critical element in Romania’s ability to keep Ireland’s scoring chances to a minimum.

The Irish didn’t help themselves, of course, and Girvan Dempsey should be taken to task for overlooking the man on his right, winger John Kelly, twice in the first half when to score would have been easier than wasting the chances.

Although John Hayes and Gary Longwell stood out as the hardest working members of the pack, coach O’Sullivan can hardly have been happy with the overall display up front, particularly after the break.

In that spell the backs could not be faulted because they were forced to live on scraps and halves Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara continued to play well. O’Gara will be remembered for his delicate chip which led to Henderson’s try and Stringer for a marvellous try-saving tackle on Romanian flanker Alexandru Manta.

O’Gara, like Brian O’Driscoll, had a superb first half and kept Romania pinned deep inside their territory. Apart from the brilliance of O’Driscoll, the persistence of Kevin Maggs and the magnificent support play from Keith Gleeson, Ireland never looked like running riot.

A huge improvement will be sought by the Ireland coaches in the weeks ahead.

IRELAND: G. Dempsey (Terenure), J. Kelly (Cork Constitution), B. O’Driscoll (Blackrock), K. Maggs (Bath), D. Hickie (St. Mary’s), R. O’Gara (Cork Con), P. Stringer (Shannon), R. Corrigan (Greystones), S. Byrne (Blackrock), J. Hayes (Shannon), G. Longwell (Ballymena), M. O’Kelly (St. Mary’s), S. Easterby (Llanelli), A. Foley (Shannon) captain; K. Gleeson (St. Mary’s). Replacements. R. Henderson (Young Munster) for O’Driscoll (42, injured), V. Costello (St. Mary’s) for Easterby (65, injured), G. Easterby (Llanelli) for Stringer (70), D. Humphreys (Dungannon) for O’Gara (78), L. Cullen (Blackrock) for Foley (80,injured). Temporary. Humphreys for O’Gara (23 34), P. Wallace (Blackrock) for Costello (69 73).

ROMANIA: G. Brezoianu (Begles Bordeaux), C. Sauan (Rovigo), V. Maftei (Pau), R. Gontineac (Aurillacois) captain; M. Vioreanu (De La Salle Palmerston), I. Tofan (Racing Club De France), L. Sirbu (Racing Club De France), M. Dumitru (Aurillacois), R. Mavrodin (Perpignan), M. Tincu (Pau), M. Dragomir (Dijon), C. Petre (Racing Club De France), A. Petrache (Racing Club De France), A. Manta (Begles Bordeaux). Replacements. P. Toderasc (Farul Constanta) for Dumitru, A. Petrichei (Bourgoin) for Dragomir (both half time), M. Picoiu (Stade Lavelanetien) for Gontineac (50, injured), D. Tudosa (Racing Club De France) for Mavrodin (63), R. Vusec (Tours) for Tofan (66), C. Podea (University Club) for Sirbu (72).

Referee. G. De Santis

More in this section

CourtsRugbyInternationalPlace: Thomond ParkPerson: Eddie O’SullivanPerson: Bernard CharreyrePerson: CharreyrePerson: CaptainPerson: Anthony FoleyPerson: FoleyPerson: Girvan DempseyPerson: John KellyPerson: John HayesPerson: Gary LongwellPerson: O’SullivanPerson: Peter StringerPerson: Ronan O’GaraPerson: O’GaraPerson: HendersonPerson: StringerPerson: Alexandru MantaPerson: Brian O’DriscollPerson: O’DriscollPerson: Kevin MaggsPerson: Keith GleesonPerson: G. DempseyPerson: J. KellyPerson: B. O’DriscollPerson: K. MaggsPerson: D. HickiePerson: R. O’GaraPerson: P. StringerPerson: ShannonPerson: R. CorriganPerson: S. ByrnePerson: J. HayesPerson: G. LongwellPerson: M. O’KellyPerson: S. EasterbyPerson: A. FoleyPerson: K. GleesonPerson: R. HendersonPerson: V. CostelloPerson: EasterbyPerson: G. EasterbyPerson: D. HumphreysPerson: DungannonPerson: L. CullenPerson: HumphreysPerson: P. WallacePerson: CostelloPerson: RomaniaPerson: G. BrezoianuPerson: C. SauanPerson: V. MafteiPerson: R. GontineacPerson: M. VioreanuPerson: I. TofanPerson: L. SirbuPerson: M. DumitruPerson: R. MavrodinPerson: M. TincuPerson: M. DragomirPerson: C. PetrePerson: A. PetrachePerson: A. MantaPerson: P. ToderascPerson: DumitruPerson: A. PetricheiPerson: DragomirPerson: M. PicoiuPerson: GontineacOrganisation: IrelandOrganisation: RomaniaOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: IrishOrganisation: TerenureOrganisation: Cork ConstitutionOrganisation: BlackrockOrganisation: BathOrganisation: St. Mary’sOrganisation: Cork ConOrganisation: GreystonesOrganisation: BallymenaOrganisation: LlanelliOrganisation: Young MunsterOrganisation: Begles BordeauxOrganisation: RovigoOrganisation: PauOrganisation: AurillacoisOrganisation: De La Salle PalmerstonOrganisation: Racing Club de FranceOrganisation: PerpignanOrganisation: DijonOrganisation: BourgoinOrganisation: Stade Lavelanetien
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