Rushed home to watch this one and despite the score line it was a touch disappointing. The Russians were truly abysmal and the feed was so choppy that it was difficult to follow a move from start to finish. To top it all the game was called after 45 minutes due an horrendous downpour mixed with thunder and lightning.
It was all to easy for Ireland as they ran in 10 tries in the 45 minutes with scores coming from Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway (3), Naill Annett, Craig Gilroy (2), Robin Copeland, Tommy O’Donnell and Paul Marshal. Keatley added five conversions before departing on the 35th minute and his replacement JJ Hanrahan added a further three.
Few of the tries involved more than two phases with Ireland dominating all aspects of the game and breaking the Russian line at will. In fact if you consider the amount of time taken up due to faffing about at scrums, line-outs and re-starts Ireland scored practically every time they had possession.
I’d expected more from the Russians, who were hoping to start the build-up for the final round of matches in the RWC 2015 Repêchage in a positive fashion! They are certainly going to have to look a bit more interested in future matches if they hope to progress – this truly was a dismal effort.
It’s hard to pick out any of the Ireland players in such a one-sided game but McCloskey is probably worth a mention, especially as he didn’t get his name on the score-sheet. It was a big bustling display from the Dungannon youngster who broke the defensive line at ease to set up his fellow players for simple run ins.
Let’s hope Ireland are challenged a bit more meaningfully in their next two matches against Uruguay and Romania. Hopefully there will also be an improvement with the coverage.
Emerging Ireland: Johne Murphy, Craig Gilroy, Eoin Griffin, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Conway, Ian Keatley, Paul Marshall, Callum Black, Niall Annett, Michael Bent, Michael Kearney, David Foley, Dominic Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, Robin Copeland. Relacements: James Tracy, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Sean Dougall, Luke McGrath, JJ Hanrahan, Brendan Macken.