Press Officer John Redmond reports today from the Irish camp that the well prepared Irish stood up to the physical challenge presented by the Romanians.
Ireland are relieved to have made a winning debut in Rugby World Cup 2003 with the bonus of not having sustained any serious injuries.
Their five try 45 – 17 victory over a game Romania placed them at the top of Pool A on five points – four for a win and one extra for scoring four or more tries – and a further bonus was a relative clean bill of health.
Romania came at us with everything but the kitchen sink said Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan, but the well prepared Irish stood up to the physical challenge, which is an added virtue that bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
Captain Keith Wood, whose magnificent personal contribution was highlighted by the scoring of a marvellous try (his 15th for Ireland), ended up with a dead leg; Keith Gleeson got seven stitches in a gash over his right eye; Anthony Foley shipped a knee injury and centre Brian O’Driscoll got a late and heavy blow across the ribs.
Out half David Humphreys, who complemented his general play with the bonus of four penalties and three conversions to raise his all time Irish record points tally by a further 20 points to 480 in 57 games, had to retire late in the game after a knock on the side of the head.
He reports that he is fully recovered and proved the point with an adept surf board performance as the Irish players gathered today (Sunday) for a midday rehab swim session on the pounding waves alongside their hotel in Terrigal.
Team doctor Gary O’Driscoll, believes there will be no lasting legacies, as Ireland now prepares to play Namibia in Sydney next Sunday.
Playing in his 54th Test game, Wood afterwards said that the teak tough Romanians could have a big impact on Pool A. They’re fully able to take a game to the opposition.test a team’s defences and put teams under pressure. The Romanians were incredibly physical at ruck time. he said.
Coach O’Sullivan agreed: We were not surprised by the physical nature of the Romanians play. They came at us with everything but the kitchen sink. We were not surprised by it. That is why we are very happy with the result. They are a bloody good side. he said.
Ireland’s next game is against Namibia in Sydney on Sunday next. They will be watched by O’Sullivan and his coaching staff when they play Argentina in Gosford on Tuesday evening.