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Rugby World Cup: Lynn Howells' men need to improve their discipline

By Jonathan Bradley

While Joe Schmidt won't have seen anything from either side last night to leave him overly fearful, France's five-try win over Romania will at least have reinforced his mantra that there can be no looking beyond Sunday's meeting with Lynn Howells' men.

The eastern Europeans put up perhaps more of a fight than expected while France looked very much like a side forced into a raft of changes having last played on Saturday evening.

Indeed, the sight of Philippe Saint-Andre reading his players the riot act at half-time told its own story.

Romania's gameplan featured heavy use of the chop tackle to bring the ball carrier to ground before swarming the breakdown in an effort to force turnovers.

It was effective in the early stages and whoever is selected in the Irish back-row will have to be ready for a battle on the deck this weekend.

It could be the perfect opportunity for Schmidt to give Sean O'Brien a breather and use Chris Henry to fill the openside flanker berth.

One area Romania must improve in if they are to trouble Ireland is their discipline.

Having witnessed Ireland stride away in their opening game against Canada when their opponents were reduced to 14 men, Romania made a similar error against France.

Paulica Ion spent 10 minutes in the bin for collapsing the maul and France took advantage to score two tries.

For a large part of the game, it was that pair of scores that separated the teams.

The scheduling of the game will be further cause for optimism from the Irish camp.

They have been afforded double the preparation of their opponents, given that they enjoy an eight-day turnaround after their Canadian test.

Playing on short rest, France failed to hit anything resembling top gear while the perils of being forced to play two Test matches in a matter of days was perhaps best illustrated by the day's first game between Scotland and Japan.

The Brave Blossoms, following their heroics against the Springboks at the weekend, made a real game of it in the first-half against the Dark Blues but the score ballooned from 12-10 to 45-10 in the game's final half an hour.

Belfast Telegraph


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