herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Bonus-point win can't disguise a lack of quality

Ireland 35 Russia 0

Andrew Conway is congratulated by Jack Carty after scoring Ireland’s fourth try
Andrew Conway is congratulated by Jack Carty after scoring Ireland’s fourth try

No doubt about the result in Kobe, but Ireland head for Fukuoka with yet more questions about their World Cup credentials. Once again, they started well. Once again, they lost their way but this time the opposition couldn't make it count.

Less than two weeks after their dominant display against Scotland, they look a team short of confidence. Despite being well ahead of the lowest-ranked team in the tournament who lost two players to the sin-bin, they made error after error and completely lost their way. Andrew Conway's try got them the fifth point, but it had been a struggle.

hurting

They lost Jordi Murphy and Rob Kearney to injury, Joey Carbery didn't feature after hurting his ankle in the warm-up and Johnny Sexton was withdrawn at half-time and was seen with an ice pack on his thigh.

Schmidt's men made a storming start and went in front within two minutes with a familiar Joe Schmidt special play.

We've seen it many times before, most memorably when Rob Kearney scored against England in 2014 and this time it was Murphy who stepped in seamlessly and delivered the try-scoring pass to the full-back.

They added a second as Luke McGrath's box-kicks brought them up the field and, when Bogdan Fedotko knocked on, Johnny Sexton stabbed the ball through for O'Mahony to score a try.

Ireland secured their third try in the 35th minute, going to the corner and taking the Russians on in the tight before Rhys Ruddock powered through two defenders. Sexton converted and Ireland took a 21-0 lead in at the break.

He departed at half-time, with Jack Carty coming on. The bonus point try arrived after 23 turgid minutes of the second-half. Carty's chip sat up beautifully for Earls and he found Conway who touched down for a try.

They did manage a fine fifth try with four minutes remaining, with Carty moving the ball quickly to Jordan Larmour who played a neat one-two with Earls before putting Ringrose away.

IRELAND:- R Kearney (J Larmour 50); A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki, K Earls; J Sexton (J Carty h-t), L McGrath; D Kilcoyne (A Porter 58), N Scannell (S Cronin 58), John Ryan (T Furlong 58); T Beirne, J Kleyn (I Henderson 61); R Ruddock, P O'Mahony, J Murphy (CJ Stander 28).

RUSSIA:- V Artemyev (capt); G Davydov, I Galinovskiy, K Golosnitskiy (K Golosnitskiy 14), D Simlikevich (R Khodin 71); R Gaisin, D Perov; A Polivalov, E Matveev (S Selskii 71), K Gotovtsev (V Podrezov 68); A Garbuzov (A Ostrikov 51), B Fedotko; A Sychev, T Gadzhiev, V Gresev.

Ref: J Garces (France)

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