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Ref's call saves red-faced Russians as Ireland run riot

Ireland 66-0 Russia

By Niall Crozier

Emerging Ireland are off to an impressive start in the IRB Nations Cup having decimated Russia 66-0 in a weather-curtailed tournament opener in Bucharest.

Thunder and lightning saw Welsh referee Ian Davies call a halt to Russia's misery after just 45 minutes during which Ireland ran in 10 tries at Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf.

The referee's decision was made for 'player safety reasons' but in truth there was no justification for continuing with this totally one-sided mis-match and he – like the Russians – was probably glad of the excuse to abandon it with the storm showing no sign of abating.

Ireland were awarded the points, with Russia happy to accept that outcome after being completely outclassed. Their defence was non-existent against opponents who appeared capable of scoring at will.

The massacre began as early as the second minute when fly-half Ian Keatley made the first touch-down. He also converted five out of seven before making way for fellow-Munster player JJ Hanrahan.

Ulster wing Craig Gilroy and hooker Niall Annett also got in on the first-half try-scoring act, as did Munster flanker Tommy O'Donnell and No 8 Robin Copeland who will be lining out alongside him next season at Thomond Park.

Russia were no better in the short-lived second period during which lasted long enough for Gilroy to score again, with Hanrahan converting to take the Irish tally to 66 points.

Next up for Ireland is a meeting with Uruguay on Wednesday, followed by a date with Romania on Sunday week.

EMERGING IRELAND: J Murphy; C Gilroy, E Griffin, S McCloskey, A Conway; I Keatley, P Marshall; C Black, N Annett, M Bent; M Kearney, D Foley; D Ryan (capt), T O'Donnell, R Copeland. Replacements: JJ Hanrahan for I Keatley (35 mins), J Ryan for M Bent (44 mins).

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