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Ireland Secure Bonus-Point In Unconvincing Win Over Russia

Ireland 35

Russia 0

It wasn’t pretty but Ireland got the job done in Kobe on Thursday with a bonus-point win over Russia. 

Three of those tries came in the first half, with Rob Kearney, Peter O’Mahony and Rhys Ruddock all crossing. Andrew Conway and Garry Ringrose scored tries in the second half.

However, it wasn’t as simple as the scoreline suggested. The greasy conditions made life difficult for both sides but Ireland particularly struggled at times with a number of handling errors.

Ramil Gaisin caused the Ireland backline issues at times with his over-the-top kicks while their quick line speed denied Joe Schmidt’s side on a number of occasions. However, during the periods when Ireland were on song, they took full advantage.

Their first try came after 90 seconds. Kearney kept hold of a pass from Jordi Murphy, showing some great handling, and the Leinster man ran over the line. It was a day for the forwards with Dave Kilcoyne, Ruddock and Tadhg Beirne all impressing but it was Peter O’Mahony who crashed over for Ireland’s second after collecting a grubber kick from the captain, Johnny Sexton.

However, Ireland were dealt a major blow midway through the first half when Murphy, who only arrived in Japan on Sunday, departed the field with a suspected rib injury, leaving Schmidt sweating over his options in the back row.

Russia’s ill-discipline cost them dearly. After repeat infringements, Bogdan Fedotko was shown the line after which Ruddock powered over for Ireland’s third try to leave the gap at 21 points at the break.

At half-time on RTÉ, former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan wasn’t impressed with the Irish performance.

Russia began the second half strongly with huge pressure on the Irish set-pieces and breakdown.

But they were once again reduced to 14 men in the 51st minute when Andrei Ostrikov was yellowed carded for a high tackle on John Ryan in the clear-out.

While many called for a red card, referee Jerome Garces deemed there were mitigating factors.

Clips via RTÉ.

This time, however, Ireland largely failed to benefit from the extra man as they repeatedly failed to control the ball while they also couldn’t cope with the Russian physicality.

Andrew Conway and Garry Ringrose scored late tries to put some gloss on the scoreline, but the Ireland team failed to click for long spells of the match.

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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter