Eddie O’Sullivan began his tenure as Irish coach with a 54-10 win over Wales in Lansdowne Road today. It was an impressive start to the championship for the home side who led 24-3 at half
Eddie O’Sullivan began his tenure as Irish coach with a 54-10 win over Wales in Lansdowne Road today. It was an impressive start to the championship for the home side who led 24-3 at half thanks to tries from Geordan Murphy and new cap Paul O’Connell.
If there was disappointment after that opening half it came when O’Connell left the field injured after an impressive start to what should prove to be a long international career.
There was a lot to admire about this Irish display albeit against a disappointing Welsh side. England will offer an entirely different proposition in a fortnight’s time but for now coach O’Sullivan must be happy with his side’s performance.
Murphy scored his first try in the 6th minute after David Wallace had made the initial break, stood well in the tackle and off-loaded to the flying Murphy to score under the posts. Two more Humphreys penalties followed before O’Connell scored his try from a line-out and Humphreys was on the mark again in the 35th and 42nd minutes to extend the Irish lead to 24 points.
In fairness to Wales they got off to the worst possible start when injury robbed them of Chris Wyatt in the 6th minute and Jamie Robinson four minutes later. Their only score of the half came deep in injury time from a long range Stephen Jones penalty.
Murphy scored his second try 7 minutes after the restart following a great break from Kevin Maggs. Humphreys added the points and two penalties to put the outcome beyond doubt.
There was a brief Welsh revival that yielded a 62nd minute try for Stephen Jones, who also landed the touchline conversion but that just sparked a further Irish scoring bout.
Denis Hickie scored try number four and moments later Brian O’Driscoll controlled the kick ahead superbly before sending newly arived Keith Gleeson over for a try on his debut. Ronan O’Gara – a 74th minute replacement for Humphreys – added the points and then scored the final try of the afternoon against a shell-shocked Welsh side.
Ireland. G Dempsey; G Murphy, B O’Driscoll, K Maggs, D Hickie (R Henderson 75 min); D Humphreys (R O’Gara (74 min), P Stringer (G Easterby 77 min); P Clohessy (P Wallace 72 min)), F Sheahan (S Byrne 72 min), J Hayes; M Galwey capt (K Gleeson 72 min), P O’Connell (G Longwell 32 min); S Easterby, D Wallace, A Foley.
Wales. K Morgan; D James, J Robinson (A Marinos 10 min), I Harris, C Morgan; S Jones, R Howley (D Peel 57 min); S John (D Jones 57 min), R McBryde (B Williams 70 min), C Anthony; C Quinnell, C Wyatt (I Gough 6 min); N Budgett, M Williams, S Quinnell.
Referee. Pablo De Luca (Italy).