In context of an intensely demanding Pool B, this proved to be virtually an ideal evening for Eire in Nantes. An attacking bonus level was secured by half-time, the sport all however gained. The inspirational and apparently ever-improving fly-half Johnny Sexton crossed for his third attempt of match, overtaking Ronan O’Gara to change into his nation’s main factors scorer on 1,090. By the top Eire had scored eight tries, making it 20 for the match, their momentum gathering properly, thanks very a lot.
Maybe most significantly, this endlessly spectacular Eire facet had been subjected to a big check by Tonga, who had been simply as bodily, hungry and well-drilled as the top coach, Andy Farrell, had predicted.
With no fewer than 4 former New Zealand internationals of their beginning XV, Tonga hit laborious and infrequently. They competed hungrily on the breakdown, profitable penalties and producing turnover ball consequently.
It was abundantly clear from the beginning that Eire would have their work lower out – the one drawback for Tonga was that they did not construct any sort of continuity in assault for themselves.
There isn’t any likelihood of the world’s No 1 staff going into subsequent weekend’s long-awaiting match towards the world champions South Africa with out a few battle scars – and that’s precisely the way in which Farrell and his teaching staff would need it. Sexton was withdrawn at half-time, that factors file secured, and the relative lack of scoreboard jeopardy may have been welcome for the top coach in his effort to handle his enjoying assets.
With 1 / 4 of the match gone Eire had been being held at 3-3, and that was a good reflection of the efforts of each groups. However the second quarter was a wholly totally different story, and predictably it was the category and consciousness of Sexton that ripped open Tonga’s defence for the primary time.
The fly-half fizzed an ideal cross to a sprinting the No 8 Caelan Doris, charging into the 22, who in flip offloaded neatly for Tadhg Beirne to stretch for the tryline beneath the posts after 21 minutes.
It was nip and tuck, however when Solomone Kata needlessly adopted by on James Lowe after a clearing kick by the Eire wing, the end result was a penalty that was kicked by Sexton deep into the opposition 22. Doris barged over from brief vary after one other clean lineout by Farrell’s facet – considerably, after just a few hiccups final week, they gained 11 out of 11 lineouts within the first half. In addition they had two tries on the board with 26 minutes performed.
Mack Hansen was quickly slicing in from the best wing after extra spectacular continuity in assault. The wing collected a bouncing ball however made gentle work of that minor element, dancing previous Charles Piutau and past a number of extra fairly half-hearted challenges to cross for the third Eire attempt.
Two minutes earlier than half-time, one other slick Irish passing transfer ended with Garry Ringrose offloading to Sexton. The irrepressible 38-year-old glided beneath the posts and touched down, celebrating demonstratively along with his teammates having surpassed O’Gara.
That four-try burst had seemingly overwhelmed Tonga however they had been quickly inflicting issues down on the different finish. The Eire No 6, Peter O’Mahony, was proven a yellow card earlier than Vaea Fifita’s sniping rating clawed the Pacific islanders again. By half-time the scoreboard learn 31-13, the fly-half William Havili having kicked two neat penalties and a conversion.
Havili was at it once more after the break, including one other penalty and narrowing the hole to fifteen, with Eire’s alternative front-rower Rob Herring then denied a attempt for a double motion. However the Tongan defence was visibly tiring, with Lowe after which Bundee Aki crossing to place the match past Toutai Kefu’s spirited bunch of gamers, earlier than Herring did get his attempt proper on the finish.
All eyes on subsequent Saturday in Paris, then. South Africa will probably be a number of ranges above Tonga, however Eire don’t have anything to concern.
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