Ireland 82 Romania 8 - record World Cup win as it happened

Updates from Ireland’s first game of the tournament as Johnny Sexton returns to lead the XV in Bordeaux


Ireland 82 Romania 8


Johnny Watterson runs the rule over Ireland’s performance


Listen back as Gordon D’Arcy and John O’Sullivan discussed Ireland’s win on Twitter spaces.


Before Aki and Beirne both secured their doubles as Ireland continued to show their ability to break from deep.


O’Mahony added his second with a simple finish in the corner.


McCarthy added his first international try, moments after being tackled into touch inches from the line. Again, it’s a bit soft from a Romanian perspective.


Sexton added his second, cutting a brilliant, hard line to dive over.


O’Mahony added another shortly after when beautiful hands from Furlong started the break.


Here’s a run-through of the second half tries. Starting with Rob Herring’s simple carry off a tap penalty.


As much as it’s difficult to read too much into such a one-sided match, that is a big statement from Ireland. 80 points, 12 tries and four players with braces, not to mention what looks to be a clean bill of health. Job done, plenty of positives, plenty of work-ons such as the lineout which Farrell and co will no doubt highlight, but the mood in camp has to be high after that.



84 mins: Ireland finish with a flourish. They could get the ball off the park with the clock in the red but instead opt to chip from deep. Aki gathers, taking a big hit for his troubles, but he does get the ball off to Ringrose. He breaks into the Romanian half, finding Beirne who scores under the posts. Crowley converts as Ireland hit the 80 mark.

Full-time: Ireland 82 Romania 8


80 mins: Romania are still playing here as they try to break from deep. It’s a scrappy break though as a spill ends what is likely to be their final attack. Their will be time for the Ireland scrum.


78 mins: Ireland earn another scrum penalty. They have completely dominated that particular set-piece, for all their lineout struggles. Crowley kicks into the 22.



75 mins: Ireland are running riot now. This time Henderson wins the lineout. With quick ball off the top, Hansen steps up at first receiver. He draws two defenders, passes as late as he can and Aki bursts through the hole to score. Two for him, 11 for Ireland as they go past 70, it’s all looking very rosy. Crowley converts.


74 mins: That’s the third lineout Ireland have lost today, Henderson beaten in the air at the back of the lineout. If you wanted to poke holes in today’s performance, there’s one.


73 mins: Romania take an age to take the kick-off, killing as much of the clock as they can. O’Mahony’s offload when the kick does come sets Ireland off again. Lowe could have sent Kelleher away but the last pass doesn’t come. He gets away with it as a Romania offside penalty allows Crowley kick into the corner.



69 mins: It starts again with van der Flier making a break. The handling is once again superb, with Ringrose, Hansen and Lowe all showing off their offloading game. It feels like a matter of time until a retreating Romanian line breaks, and so it proves as O’Mahony waltzes over in the corner. Crowley converts brilliantly from out wide.



67 mins: Second time lucky for the secondrow. Romania make a mess of the lineout, Murray gathers and pops to McCarthy and the gap opens up for the former Blackrock man to notch his first international score. Crowley adds the extras.


67 mins: What a tackle. Joe McCarthy looks dead set to score after yet more skilful play from Ireland opens up space out wide. One on one with the fullback Simionescu, McCarthy has the size advantage but the last man does so well, absorbing the impact and forcing the much bigger man into touch.


65 mins: A spill costs Ireland another score! van der Flier has been immense since coming on, breaking the line once again. His offload sets off a chain reaction which eventually sees Loughman feed Keenan. He tries to find Aki inside the 22 to beat the last man but once again, a spill costs Ireland at the vital moment.

That’s all from Sexton. He’s gone with 15 minutes to play, Jack Crowley enters the fray.



63 mins: Hansen starts the move off with a big carry off his wing on first phase. Ireland stay patient thereafter, relying largely on their forwards before Sexton picks a hard line against the grain. Murray hits him in stride and he barges his way through a soft shoulder to score under the posts. Sexton adds the extras, that’s 24 points for the Ireland captain today.


61 mins: Back underway with a scrum and O’Toole makes amends for his earlier indiscretion by winning a penalty. Sexton kicks into the 22.


Time for another water break. As the players douse themselves, Conor Murray has taken off the bib. He’ll come on for Gibson-Park. Mack Hansen also comes on for Earls. While the players take a break, let’s revisit O’Mahony’s try, the latest score of the game.


59 mins: Wow, what a passage of play that is. Under pressure fielding a kick in his own 22, Vaovasa dances around multiple would-be tacklers. He’s away into space, showing a clean pair of heels only for Sexton to track back well and haul him down. A spill ends what could well have been a scintillating break.


58 mins: Brilliant from Onutu. After Van der Flier, wearing head tape instead of his usual customary red scrumcap, breaks into the 22, the winger gets in over the ball to win a relieving penalty.


58 mins: Ireland weather the storm. Henderson initially does well to disrupt the lineout maul. Romania work the ball back, hammering away at the line. Inch by inch they get closer but a sealing off penalty halts their progress.


56 mins: This time Romania get a scrum penalty. O’Toole on the tighthead side is penalised for bringing the set-piece down. Romania kick to earn a rare lineout inside the Irish 22. Meanwhile, Iain Henderson and Josh van der Flier are on, James ryan and Caelan Doris go off. Interesting to see who plays at 8 with VDF and O’Mahony on the park.


55 mins: Ireland’s handling at times has been sumptuous today, but not without errors. This time Ringrose spills in contact to end a counterattack from the Irish 22.


52 mins: Ireland again make a mess of the Romanian scrum, even with the replacements. Not for the first time today, Chirica gathers off the base under pressure but he’s swallowed up in a choke tackle. Ireland get the scrum.


Ireland take advantage of the break in play following the score to replace their entire frontrow. Loughman, Kelleher and O’Toole are on for Porter, Herring and Furlong. As Herring goes off, here’s his score from earlier.



50 mins: It all starts with a sublime tip pass close to the line from Furlong. All of a sudden, Herring is away with the line broken. Aki takes the pass, can’t find support but Ireland recycle. Lowe goes close out wide before a zipping pass back infield from Gibson-Park finds O’Mahony who only has to fall over the line.

Sexton adds the extras.


48 mins: After his kicking error at the end of the first half, that’s sublime from Keenan. He thinks he has a 50:22 but the officials say it rolled out just short of the Romanian 22. Almost judged to perfection.



That’s a soft score for Romania to concede. Herring taps the penalty and forces his way over on phase one through a set defence. Sexton converts. Far too easy.


45 mins: Ireland are held up over the line after a series of carries close to the line. Romania drifted offside, so they will get another opportunity.


43 mins: Another scrum penalty comes Ireland’s way as Furlong continues to dominate. Sexton kicks down the line, finding touch inside the 22.


41 mins: Back underway in Bordeaux! Romania kick-off through Vaovasa. Tomane nearly gives Ireland a scare with an early intercept but he can’t hold on. Meanwhile, that’s the end of the sin-bin period. Simionescu is back on.


Sexton topped it all off after a Gibson-Park quick tap, Aki serving as the middle man. There was a brief moment of concern as Sexton took a blow to the hand while scoring. Watch this space...


Aki was next up. Porter’s tip-on is a beauty, and Romania’s backfield exposed with their fullback in the bin.


Ireland’s third was also a beauty. Lowe’s kicking game caused havoc, Ireland regathered inside the 22, stayed patient before Beirne was rewarded for holding his width.


Keenan followed up minutes later. O’Mahony and Ryan linked up beautifully, showing no signs of rustiness in terms of the offloading game to send Keenan over.


Ireland hit back almost immediately, Aki taking advantage of some questionable midfield defence to send Gibson-Park over.


Romania started the brighter of the two sides, capitalising on space in behind off a Sexton kick with an opportunistic score.



40 mins: Ireland finish the half with a flourish. Gibson-Park takes a quick-tap penalty on halfway, feeds Aki on the inside who in turn puts Sexton away into space. He converts his own score.

Half-time: Ireland 33 Romania 8


38 mins: Earls again hunts a kick in behind as Ireland look to exploit Romania’s missing fullback. He’s got the gas but a spill on the floor brings the attack to an end.


37 mins: Once again, Ireland follow up a score with a mistake. Keenan spots grass in behind to launch a 50:22, only to send the ball out on the full.



35 mins: Ireland get the bonus point as half-time approaches. Ireland go down the short side off an attack, a wraparound play opening space down the flank. With not enough numbers to cover, Aki is able to burst through the gap, stepping inside the last man to score. Sexton makes up for his earlier miss by slotting the extras from out wide.


33 mins: CHANCE! Aki and McCarthy hit it up off the scrum. It’s a good line from the lock that sees him power his way over the line, but Vaovasa is able to get under the ball and hold it up. Romania survive.


32 mins: Yellow card! Simionescu is gone to the bin. Sexton takes a penalty inside the 22 quickly. Lowe takes the ball up, is tackled 10m short before the Romanian fullback plays the ball cynically on the floor. Easy decision to go to the pocket, the only question is was the right man sent to the bin? Simionescu doesn’t protest... Ireland opt for a scrum.


30 mins: Lowe is unfortunate to not see an attempted 50:22 roll into touch. Instead, Romania threaten to break through their outhalf Vaovasa. After making ground, Romania clears. Now it’s Keenan’s turn to see an attempted 50:22 bounce the wrong way, holding up infield instead of rolling over the line.


29 mins: Ireland’s lines of running are again very slick, but the final pass remains difficult to come across. Romania are able to clear


28 mins: A better scrum from Romania allows Rupanu to clear. The ball stays infield, Ireland counter but Furlong’s tip-on is intercepted by Tomane. He fails to release at the following ruck, allowing Sexton to kick up towards the 22.


26 mins: Ireland’s offloading game again causes issues. Keenan this time on the counter links up with Beirne, who again has Lowe in support. Gibson-Park is there to take the scoring pass but it goes to deck. Scrum Romania.


25 mins: Romania are under a heap of pressure at the scrum. Furlong again does the damage before O’Mahony drives Chirica back when he picks from the base. Ireland block the attempted clearance kick when it comes, but Porter is pinged for offside. Pressure released.


23 mins: So nearly a wonder try from Earls. Aki offloads one-handed out of a tackle. Lowe takes the pass out wide, beats one man and feeds the ball back inside. If Earls could gather, he scores, but he fails to hang on under pressure. Romanian scrum 5m from their own line.


21 mins: Back underway as Sexton kicks off following the water break and Rupanu penalty. McCarthy gives away a penalty at the breakdown trying to win the ball back.


21 mins: This time Rupanu makes no mistake from right in front of the sticks. Time for the first water break, given the heat.


20 mins: Ireland continue to struggle to exit. A crooked lineout throw this time does the damage. Ireland then drift offside in defence. Romania will take the points.



17 mins: Ireland are running rampant now. Sexton and Lowe combine out the back of a lineout move to open up the space. Lowe’s grubber into the 22 causes havoc as Earls nearly gathers before Keenan scoops it up. He’s held up short, but with acres of space out wide, Lowe gets on the ball to fling a wide pass. There is Beirne with no one home, diving over in the corner.

Sexton pushes the touchline conversion out to the right.


16 mins: Good scrum from Ireland. Furlong gets the better of his opposite number Hartig and earns the penalty.


14 mins: Ireland make a hames of the restart, giving away a lineout on their own 22. Romania go to the maul but there’s Joe McCarthy forcing his way through the middle to disrupt, earning Ireland a scrum. There’s that power much has been made of.



12 mins: Ireland’s best period of sustained attack. Aki is prominent throughout, barging through defenders. Once inside the 22, O’Mahony’s tip to Ryan breaks the line, with the Leinsterman’s offload out of the tackle sending Keenan in under the posts. Lovely skills. Once again, Sexton safely converts.


12 mins: Ireland’s handling is good until an inside ball from Sexton hits Herring and then the deck. Backwards is the call, Ireland hold on with Aki barging his way into the 22.


10 mins: Romania threaten briefly with some fast ruck speed but Porter and McCarthy do well to hold things up with a choke tackle. Romania hang onto the ball, only for Earls to get in over the top and win a holding-on call.


8 mins: Sublime to the ridiculous from Lowe. He takes a high ball under pressure brilliantly inside his own 22, only to run just outside and send the ball out on the full. Romania have a lineout close to the 22, but Beirne gets up at the front to disrupt. He can’t hang on, scrum to The Oaks in the same position.



5 mins: Ireland hit back immediately. A counter-ruck off the kick-off earns possession. Tomane jumps out of the line to smash Sexton, leaving open a hole and Sexton feeds Aki. He in turns links with Ringrose who gives the scoring pass to put Gibson-Park away under the posts. Sexton converts.



3 mins: Disaster start for Ireland! Sexton grubbers through for Earls to chase. Manumua beats him to the ball and the space all of a sudden opens up, Rupanu running a support line to beat the last man and score under the posts. Somehow, Rupanu has failed to convert his own score.


2 mins: Ireland’s lineout was scrappy in the World Cup warm-up games and the first one today does not go to hand. Romania are able to regather before starting a bout of kick-tennis. Lowe nearly spills one inside his own 22 but just hangs on. Keenan eventually has enough of the kicking battle before running the ball back.


1 min: Nika Amashukeli blows his whistle and we are underway! Sexton bounces the kick-off into the Romanian 22. A clearance gives Ireland an early lineout just inside Romania’s half.


Anthems done, we are seconds away. Johnny Sexton and Ireland will get things underway...


Time for the anthems. Mercifully, Ireland’s call has not suffered the same butchering La Marseillaise endured last night at the Stade de France.


As the players come onto the field, there’s some late team news. Robbie Henshaw is a late scratch, Mack Hansen comes onto the bench.



We’re just over five minutes away from kick-off. Twitter - or X, if that’s your thing - users, make sure to join Gordon D’Arcy and John O’Sullivan post-match on our reaction space to talk through the action.


Full-time in the day’s first game. Italy recovered from a circumspect first half to pull away emphatically in the second.


30 minutes to kick-off...


The last time these two sides met was in the 2015 World Cup. That game saw a new tournament record for attendance as 89,267 people - mostly Irish in London - packed into Wembley. Ireland came out on top that day 44-10.

The first game between the two was in Dublin in 1986, Ireland hammering Romania 60-0. In a 1999 World Cup qualifier, The Oaks fared better, scoring 35 points as Ireland countered with 53 for another win.



As fate would have it, whereas Ireland’s remaining pool games will all be night-time kick-offs in milder weather, their one afternoon game comes in a heatwave.

—  Gerry Thornley on the sweltering heat that will greet Ireland for their mid-afternoon kick-off.


Meanwhile over in Saint Etienne, the day’s first game is well underway. In Pool A, Italy have struggled to pull away from minnows Namibia at half-time.


“What’s pressure? You’re at a World Cup and it’s the first game. Is that pressure? Is it your opposition that is pressure? Is the pressure we brought ourselves as a group to perform well? There is always pressure. If its different pressure . . . of course it’s different pressure with different opposition but it doesn’t change how we go out on to the pitch or how we want to play.”

—  Tadhg Furlong on the pressure of expectation being placed on Ireland

Key reading

- Ireland struggled against underdogs in 2007. They need to beat Romania soundly

- Ireland looking to make statement in Rugby World Cup opener against Romania

- Matt Williams: Future of rugby at stake unless we learn from past scrum horrors

- David McWilliams: The economic transformation of Irish rugby has been phenomenal

- Malachy Clerkin: Please, rugby. Don’t ruin the Rugby World Cup for the rest of us


The Romanian lineup can be found here. There’s one particularly familiar face in the centres. Jason Tomane lines out for the Oaks at 13. His brother is none other than Australian international Joe Tomane, who had a recent stint in the blue of Leinster.


Head coach Andy Farrell has named a strong side for today, albeit it is not a fully-fledged first choice XV. Johnny Sexton plays for the first time since the Grand Slam decider on St Patrick’s weekend, injury and then suspension ruling the Ireland captain out until today. He leads out a strong backline with the likes of Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan and Jamison Gibson-Park all involved. The only surprise? No Mack Hansen. Keith Earls starts ahead of him, with Hansen not even in the 23.

Up front, Joe McCarthy has earned a start after his bruising performances in the warm-up games. Interestingly, Tadhg Beirne shifts to the backrow as Peter O’Mahony lines out at openside. Reigning World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier is on the bench. Rob Herring starts at hooker in place of the injured Dan Sheehan.


Good afternoon all and welcome to today’s Rugby World Cup action. Ireland get their campaign underway at the Stade de Bordeaux against Pool B minnows Romania. Nathan here (@nathanrjohns) to guide you through all the build-up and match action as it happens.

Kick-off is at 2.30pm but we will be bringing you all the team news and previewing the match as we build up to Ireland’s heavily-anticipated entry to the global showpiece.