Ireland were comfortable 35-8 winners over Samoa at Lansdowne Road, in a game that saw new cap Jeremy Staunton mark his senior debut with a try
Ireland were comfortable 35-8 winners over Samoa at Lansdowne Road, in a game that saw new cap Jeremy Staunton mark his senior debut with a try while there was also a try for Frank Sheahan on his Lansdowne Road senior debut.
It was a win that was more workmanlike than anything else against a Samoan side who looked particularly dangerous in open play. Ireland needed to be on their guard in such instances in order to deal with the jinking talent of Tanner Villi, Earl Va’a and Semo Sititi. To that end coach Warren Gatland will be happy with the way the Irish held their concentration and also with the manner in which they took their tries.
The eventual Irish Permanent Man of the Match, Ronan O’Gara opened the scoring with a penalty after just five minutes but his opposite number Earl Va’a equalised with a penalty four minutes later. Ireland went back in front with a second O’Gara penalty and then in the 15th minute Frank Sheahan marked his Lansdowne Road debut with a try following a lineout maul. O’Gara added the conversion and the home side were in control.
Having led 16-3 at half time Ireland went further ahead early in the second half when Staunton skipped through to score under the posts to leave O’Gara with an easy conversion.
Ireland then squandered possession inside their own 22 and Samoa ran the ball out in a movement that ended with a try for left wing Afato So’oalo.
The Samoans enjoyed a period of dominace but the Irish defence held up well and when they lifted the siege they forced their way downfield for a try in the right hand corner for Geordan Murphy thanks to an inch perfect chip through by Brian O’Driscoll.
In the closing stages, a penalty to the Samoans was reversed, Ireland opted for a scrum and the ball was spun wide for Tyrone Howe to score in the left hand corner, O’Gara landing the touchline conversion.
Ireland. J Staunton; G Murphy, B O’Driscoll (M Mullins), K Maggs, T Howe; R O’Gara, P Stringer (G Easterby); E Byrne, F Sheahan, J Hayes (P Clohessy); M Galwey, G Longwell; E Miller (T Brennan), K Dawson, A Foley capt (S Easterby).