Ireland 44 – 10 Romania
Perhaps, probably, the most impressive performance in the tournament so far. Ireland look the business.
Partly it was the go forward in the contact. Nobody in green was content to just be tackled: they kept the leg drive going, made an extra couple of metres, carried the momentum.
Partly it was the width they played with from the opening whistle. Side to side and back again, and rewarded with tries to the wingers in the corners.
Above and beyond all that was that it was a performance against a Romanian team with a well-organised, motivated, skilful, disruptive and very, very physical defence. They were limited in attack – everything telegraphed early, and little ability to put the ball in space or the player into a gap – but they look like they enjoy tackling.
It was the patience of the Irish that will stand them in good stead late in the tournament. There was a sense of self-belief, of confidence, that allowed them to stick to their knitting rather than start grabbing at half-chances.
The score blew out in the last quarter as Romania lost a man to the bin for an infringement in the shadow of the posts. But Romania also grabbed themselves a try with three minutes to go.
A very entertaining match in front of a Rugby World Cup record crowd at Wembley. Having such massive home advantage in London will help keep the Irish eyes smiling.