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Rugby World Cup: How Ulstermen fared with Jared Payne sending a reminder

By Michael Sadlier

It was all about winning, and with a bonus point, but so was the need for players to feature with some bolted-on high visibility, just to remind Joe Schmidt of what they can do before the business gets really serious.

And this was very much the case for all four Ulster players in the starting side though clearly Tommy Bowe, and even Jared Payne, had just that greater desire to put on a show.

Bowe's situation had been well-documented, but Payne was possibly feeling a little bit uneasy at starting this game with so many non-frontline players also being out there.

There has been some criticism of Ireland's lack of midfield creativity and whether Payne really is a centre or just someone shoe-horned into the post-Brian O'Driscoll environment because needs must. So, it looked like Payne knew there was a need to put in a big shift at Wembley and he duly delivered.

Allied to his sound work in the tackle, the Irish-qualified Kiwi was also prominent at the breakdown and secured one very notable turnover which helped an Irish breakout along.

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His partnership with Ulster clubmate Darren Cave didn't exactly shred the Romanian midfield but then it didn't need to with so much space being found out on the flanks.

Bowe crossed for two tries and looked far more like his old self than that wobbly outing he had at Twickenham. Whether looking good against Romania will change the coach's mind remains to be seen.

As for Chris Henry, his all-round effort was in the high-vis category and he will have enjoyed scoring on his first World Cup start.

Darren Cave came inches close to touching down on his World Cup debut and, generally, performed well with his primary task of trucking up ball directly into the Oaks' defensive line while Paddy Jackson's appearance off the bench was notable for his involvement in Bowe's second score.

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