Ireland too good for Romania

11:43 am on 28 September 2015

Wingers Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe each touched down twice for a much-changed Ireland side, who continued their progress at the Rugby World Cup by overpowering Romania 44-10 at Wembley.

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe scores against Romania RWC2015.

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe scores against Romania RWC2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ireland followed up their clinical victory over Canada with a six-try salvo to secure the bonus-point win that puts them top of Pool D after two games, a point ahead of France.

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Having eased into the tournament with victories over the group's lesser lights, the Irish now face sterner tests. Italy are up next in a week's time, followed by a likely decider against the French in Cardiff on October 11th.

A Rugby World Cup record crowd of 89,267 were at Wembley Stadium, surpassing last weekend's record attendance of 89,019 for New Zealand versus Argentina.

While securing a place in the knockout stage is the first priority, progressing as group winners would avoid a likely quarter-final against holders New Zealand, favourites to top Pool C.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt made 12 changes from the side that helped themselves to a half-century of points against Canada, but there was no lack of cohesion as the Six Nations champions always looked to stretch Romania across the Wembley pitch.

No one made more of an impression than Earls, one of three players retained from the starting side against Canada.

Earls was particularly dangerous in the first half, scoring a fine try and acting as the catalyst for a wave of Irish attacks.

His sublime offload gave the fleet-footed Simon Zebo the chance to show his skill down the left flank and although a try was disallowed for a foot in touch, Ireland did not have to wait much longer to cross the whitewash.

Earls gathered from Eoin Reddan's box kick and Ireland worked the ball quickly from left to right to send Bowe over in the corner.

It was then Earls who powered up the afterburners, collecting Zebo's long pass to sprint over in the left corner to send Ireland into the break 18-3 ahead.

His second try came soon after the restart, his poacher's instinct putting him in the right place to pick up Reddan's short kick through.

Bowe then crossed for his second before Rob Kearney powered through from a neat inside pass by Zebo and flanker Chris Henry was driven over to ensure a happy journey home for Irish fans among the 89,267 crowd, the biggest attendance in the tournament's history.

Lock Ovidiu Tonita grabbed a consolation try for Romania in the closing moments.