RUGBY WORLD CUP: Ireland’s hopes still alive after sloppy bonus point win over Russians
By COLIN BARTLEY
IRELAND underwhelmed against Russia this morning and just about kept their Rugby World Cup dreams alive after struggling to get a bonus point victory and stumbling over the line.
Sloppy is possibly the best way to describe Ireland’s 35-0 victory over the Russians, with the team once again visibly wilting in the second half, suffering in the Japanese humidity.
Although it was a cool 21c outside the stadium in Kobe, the decision of the World Cup chiefs to keep the roof closed, ensured the conditions were once again stifling.
Knowing this Ireland made another blistering start, two tries in the first 12 minutes. It took another 25 minutes to get another score on the board, and a half-hour before we troubled the graphics again.
Rob Kearney scored after 90 seconds, Peter O’Mahoney after 12 minutes and Rhys Ruddock on 34 minutes to put the Irish 21-0 up at half-time, but there seemed to be no real clarity of attack or genuine cohesion. Ireland were struggling.
Half-time offered no respite and Johnny Sexton was hauled off at the half to protect him for bigger games ahead, Jack Carthy in at outhalf.
The change made Ireland sluggish and if truth be told, the Russians were the better team in the third quarter despite having a man sent to the bin for a dangerously high tackle on John Ryan. It looked suspiciously like a red.
Bang on 60 mins, Keith Earls gathered a chip over the top from Jack Carthy, popped it off to Andrew Conway who sprinted in from 45 metres. Bonus point secured, mission accomplished.
After another 15 mins of hard to watch rugby, a good break down the left wing by Jordan Lamour, who interchanged passes with Keith Earls, before allowing Gary Ringrose a free run under the posts.
And that’s how it finished, 35 – 0.
Joe Schmidt and Ireland now have ten days to find their mojo before they face Samoa, where nothing less than a bonus-point victory will do if they want to make the quarter-final.