There was a spring in Eddie O’Sullivan’s step following Ireland’s five-try victory over Romania, a win that leaves them sitting on top of Pool A.
There was no disguising the satisfaction in Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan after his side had successfully negotiated the first hurdle in RWC 2003 despite weather conditions that did not allow the type of rugby he would like to have played.
“Pretty happy yes,” he said,” considering everything. First game and against a very big physical side. I mean we saw there some raw power which is very hard to deal with They’re a much bigger team than we are. They just have more muscle. We knew that coming into the game and then what really threw the cat among the pigeons was the wind. It absolutely destroyed the game as a spectacle.
We needed to run against a team like that but passing the ball in those conditions, whether with the wind or against, was almost a liability. So we really had to work very hard for that victory.
Defensively we spent ages without the ball, in both halves. But we defended manfully We struck at the right time. We got them on the rack and we punished them. So I’m very happy to come out with five tries and a bonus point.
We didn’t dictate the game with the ball because we didn’t have it, but we actually dictated the game because we defended very well and we made lots of tackles and we had to work extremely hard to hold the gain-line.
The few times they made the bust, they were very dangerous. So if you’d given me this game beforehand and told me this was going to happen, I’d have taken it.
I think this Romanian team is a lot better than people give them credit for. Now it’s easy to say that after the game but I’ve been saying that all along These boys are all playing professionally in France they’re hardened professionals. We saw there what they can do when they get together. They’re a difficult team to play against and as I say conditions were awful out here. The ball was really hard to run with.
They didn’t run that much with it. They just kept it under their shirt and ran big men at us. It wasn’t the best day for us to play them but I think we got through it pretty much with flying colours.
I was happy enough at half time. We had a nice lead. We had two tries under our belt. We knew the bonus point would come if we kept plugging away.
What really pleased me about that opening half was that they had us on the rack before the break. We should have cleared our lines and we didn’t. They really put us under the cosh for a long period but we held our line well.
Now, having said that we came out then in the second half and gave up ten points straight away. I think the penalty try was very harsh. From one angle it looked like he pushed him, but the other angle showed he didn’t. David said the guy ran across him and he put out his hand top protect himself. I thought the second try they got was a forward pass by a mile. You can’t legislate for those things.The one that rebounded off the upright that they nearly scored off ? Well I think no defence system will cope with that kind of stuff.
So overall Im very happy with that start. I think we’ve a fairly clean bill of health, nobody suffered anything too serious. So to win scoring five good tries, secure a bonus point ? I’d take it any day.