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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Coach & Captain’s Verdict: Ireland 44 Romania 10

Coach & Captain’s Verdict: Ireland 44 Romania 10

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and Jamie Heaslip, who captained the team at Wembley Stadium, spoke to the media following today’s 44-10 bonus point victory over Romania in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup.

JOE SCHMIDT –

ON THE OVERALL TEAM DISPLAY:

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“I don’t think you are ever totally satisfied. We know it wasn’t a perfect game. It’s a difficult thing to work yourself through a tough couple of games where you’re heavily favoured to get the right result.

“And as we’ve already seen in this tournament, being heavily favoured to get a result and getting the end result are two entirely different things. I think Canada showed how difficult they are to play against if you allow them to get on the ball – in their performance yesterday against Italy.

“Romania demonstrated how tough they make the game for you because physically they are well put together and they defend incredibly well. They’re a fantastic collective and they made it a very tough afternoon’s work for us.

“We know next week is the pivotal week. Next week is effectively our qualification match. We have had a good look at Italy’s games and we will play to our strengths as best we can.”

ON SOME OF THE LEADING PERFORMERS:

“I thought there was a number of players that performed really well and will create a bit of a selection headache for us leading into Italy. The midfield pairing (of Jared Payne and Darren Cave) went well.

“I felt Darren Cave got through a power of work as well as making a couple of line breaks. Jared Payne, again. I thought Simon Zebo did really well. His pass for Keith Earls’ (opening) try was exceptional as was Keith’s acceleration to get in at the corner.”

ON ROB KEARNEY’S INJURY:

“I think Rob was involved in high speed play immediately after coming on (as a replacement). Just in scoring the try, he just jarred himself up a little bit. We are hopeful at this stage he will be okay. The pain is through his glute and his hip, so we’re icing up his glute. We will have a better picture tomorrow or Tuesday.”

ON KEITH EARLS EQUALLING BRIAN O’DRISCOLL’S RWC TRY RECORD:

“I know Keith well enough to know that he’ll be fully focused on what it means for the team. I thought hetook the tries well and I think he’s played really well in the two games we’ve played so far, so he’ll just be focused on that and hoping that he can continue to deliver that for the team.

“I guess it’s nice for him to be mentioned in the same sentence as Brian O’Driscoll, because I suppose that’s the standard that any back in an Irish back-line wants to aspire to.”

ON TOMMY BOWE’S TWO-TRY RETURN:

“He certainly didn’t give him a kick (in relation to his recent form). He very much kickstarts himself. I thought he had a super game. He finished a (first) try in the corner really well.

“I thought he was incredibly strong in the air. He made a fantastic low tackle to allow Jared Payne to get in over the ball and make a turnover in the second half. So, on both sides of the ball, I felt that Tommy was really good today.”

ON WHO STOOD OUT IN THE FORWARDS:

“Up front, Nathan White did a really good job and it’s fantastic to have Cian (Healy) taking the ball forward. He did lose a couple in the 22, which will frustrate him, but each step he takes is a bit positive for us.

Dev Toner responded to a bit of pressure really well. I thought he called the lineouts well. He physically dominated the lineout well. In the loose, I think the longer the game went on, the more Chris Henry got into it and got a couple of smart turnovers.

“I felt Jamie (Heaslip) led from the front. His early carries were really strong and he certainly won the collisions when he did carry and allowed us to get onto the front foot.”

ON THE IRELAND FANS AT WEMBLEY STADIUM:

“Arriving at the stadium the support was unbelievable. There were red seats but it was mostly green, and the volume was great and certainly encouraged the guys to show their best side and I think they did that at times today.”

JAMIE HEASLIP –

ON PLAYING AT WEMBLEY IN FRONT OF A RECORD RWC CROWD:

“From last week to this week, the support has been amazing, and to have this 90-thousand stadium filled out by Irish supporters has been humbling.

“It was a tide of green looking out today which was pretty empowering. You try to block it out during the game but sometimes their energy bleeds into the game. I thought last week was loud but the support has blown everyone away today.”

ON THE WEEK-TO-WEEK SCHEDULE:

“There have been numerous times when we have had to play games on the trot. Players just want to play and you want to take your opportunities and make the selectors’ jobs hard.”