Rugby World Cup: Johnny Sexton shines as Ireland decimate Romania to kickstart quest for title

Ireland thrashed Romania 82-8 to get their World Cup campaign started in style in Bordeaux, running in 12 tries despite the sweltering heat as the returning Johnny Sexton pulled the strings and centre Bundee Aki ran riot.

Romania briefly led against the No.1 ranked team in the world, after running back a clearance kick and sending scrum half Gabriel Rupanu clean through to score in the second minute.

That however was as good as it got for Romania, as Ireland took a stranglehold on the game and racked up tries for Jamison Gibson-Park, Hugo Keenan, Tadhg Beirne (2), Bundee Aki (2), Johnny Sexton (2), Rob Herring, Peter O'Mahony (2), and Joe McCarthy.

By the time Sexton walked off to a standing ovation midway through the second half the game was long over as a contest, and the eventual margin of victory exceeded the 60-0 previous record from when the sides played in 1986.

Earlier, an error-strewn Italy overcame a poor first half in blistering heat to secure a 52-8 victory over minnows Namibia in a lackluster start to their Rugby World Cup Pool A campaign at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

The Italians led 17-8 at the break and later scored a superb 60-metre try through livewire wing Ange Capuozzo. They earned a bonus point as they ran in seven tries in all, taking advantage of the wilting Namibians late in the game.

Namibia's wait for a first World Cup win extends to a record 23 games, though they also scored an excellent try via wing Gerswin Mouton. The African side's only scores of the 2019 tournament were also against Italy when they lost 47-22.

With much tougher assignments to come against hosts France and New Zealand, Italy coach Kieran Crowley will expect a vast improvement in performance when they meet Uruguay.  

Namibia are next in action against the All Blacks.