Ireland coach Schmidt happy with Romania thumping

  • 28/09/2015
Joe Schmidt (Getty Images)
Joe Schmidt (Getty Images)

By Tom Allnutt

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt declared that his side's Rugby World Cup starts now after they claimed a convincing bonus-point victory over Romania.

The 44-10 win at Wembley sees Ireland move to the top of Pool D but their progress to the quarter-finals will depend on tougher tests against both France and, more immediately, Italy next Sunday.

Ireland can guarantee qualification to the knock-out stages if they beat the Italians at the Olympic Stadium but it will be important to finish first too, given reigning champions New Zealand will probably lie in wait for the pool runners-up.

"Next week is the pivotal week," New Zealander Schmidt said.

"It's where we can qualify ourselves. The game against France just decides who we play in the quarter-final if we can win next week.

"It's pressure for us and pressure for Italy. That's why people come to a World Cup - they want to see how teams respond to the pressure cooker environment."

Ireland are sweating on the fitness of Rob Kearney for the match after he injured himself scoring the fifth try shortly after coming on as a substitute.

Losing Kearney would be a blow to Ireland but a number of players put their hand up for selection after a dominant performance against Romania.

Schmidt made 12 changes with Italy and France in mind, but his altered line-up showed few signs of weakness, scoring six tries, including four in the second half.

Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls crossed the line twice each, before Kearney and Chris Henry added two more late on, and Simon Zebo also staked a claim with an impressive display at full-back.