Ireland v Romania LIVE: Rugby World Cup build-up and Italy vs Namibia latest updates

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton smiles during a training session at the Stade de la Vallee du Cher in Tours, France

Sign up to our free sport newsletter for all the latest news on everything from cycling to boxing

Sign up to our free sport email for all the latest news

Thanks for signing up to the
Sport email

Ireland begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Romania with the return of Johnny Sexton.

The veteran fly half hands head coach Andy Farrell a major boost as the world’s No 1-ranked team look to overcome a lopsided draw and a tricky pool to secure glory in France.

Unbeaten in 2023, the Irish will hope to go at least one further than Japan 2019, when a crushing loss to New Zealand ended their hopes in the quarter-finals. But with the All Blacks and hosts France in Pool A, they will have to do it the hard way should they themselves advance from Pool B.

Follow live score updates, analysis and reaction from the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux below. Get all the Rugby World Cup odds and the latest tips and odds here.


Italy begin to pull away

That’s a stunning score from Italy, going from inside their own half and cutting Namibia apart out wide, Ange Capuozzo exchanging passes with Monty Ioane before scurrying into the corner. It all came after a vital turnover on his own line from replacement flanker Manuel Zuliani with Namibia looking for a second try, and that’s the best we’ve seen from Italy in possession.

Tommaso Allan knocks over a touchline conversion: Italy 31-8 Namibia.

Ireland arrive at the Stade de Bordeaux

Little more than an hour now until Ireland get their World Cup underway against Romania. Andy Farrell’s side have safely made it out to the rather funky Matmut Atlantique, which will be known as the Stade de Bordeaux for this tournament.

Italy extend advantage

More like it from Italy, getting their kicking game right early in the second half and bashing their way over the line after making initial progress with the maul to the left corner. Dino Lamb is the scorer – the Harlequins lock represented England at U20 level.

Tommaso Allan, himself a recently departed Harlequin, knocks over the extra two points to swell Italy’s lead to 24-8.

Italy 17-8 Namibia – second half under way

They are back out there in the Saint Etienne heat. Can Italy kick into gear in the second half? It’s just been a little bit too inaccurate so far from Kieran Crowley’s side.

Rugby World Cup power rankings: Rating every nation’s chances ahead of the tournament

Rugby World Cup power rankings: Rating every nation’s chances ahead of the tournament

Ireland, France, South Africa and New Zealand shape as the tournament favourites – but how far down our rankings are England and Wales after a difficult 2023 so far?

HT: Italy 17-8 Namibia

A captivating first 40 in Saint-Etienne, with Italy taking a lead down the tunnel but not having it all their own way at Stade Geoffroy Guichard. Tiaan Swanepoel had the chance to knock through three more Namibian points just before the interval, and had the distance from all of 60 metres on the angle, but pushed his penalty out to the right.

James Ryan urges Ireland to begin Rugby World Cup with ‘real intent’

Vice-captain James Ryan insists Ireland must begin the Rugby World Cup with “real intent” if they have genuine aspirations of being crowned champions.

Andy Farrell’s side are out to substantiate their status as the top-ranked Test team and one of the pre-tournament favourites.

The Six Nations winners launch their campaign against Pool B minnows Romania at a sold-out Stade de Bordeaux expected to be packed with Irish fans.

Leinster lock Ryan, who concedes Ireland were below their best in warm-up victories over Italy, England and Samoa, says his side are striving for a complete 80-minute performance.

“It’s definitely not about easing ourselves in,” said the 27-year-old. “If we’re going to take this competition seriously I don’t think you can ease yourself into any game.

“We’ve got to go in with the right mentality.

“Tomorrow is about playing with real intent and putting in a performance that we know we’re capable of.”

James Ryan urges Ireland to begin Rugby World Cup with ‘real intent’

The Six Nations winners launch their campaign on Saturday against Pool B minnows Romania.

Ireland have greatest chance to break Rugby World Cup curse but questions remain

Our primary focus this afternoon will be on Ireland’s opener, with Johnny Sexton back in harness after serving his suspension in a mightily strong side named to take on Romania. Luke Baker asks if the grand slammers are the team to finally end Ireland’s World Cup woe.

Ireland have greatest chance to break Rugby World Cup curse but questions remain

Ireland are desperate to final get beyond the quarter-finals in Johnny Sexton’s last stand, writes Luke Baker, but fates may be conspiring against them again

Rugby World Cup 2023

It’s been a cracking contest so far between Itay and Namibia. Gerswin Mouton has gone over in the corner to narrow Italy’s lead to nine points, with Namibia throwing plenty at this impressivee young Italian side. Things didn’t work out with South Africa for Allister Coetzee, sacked in 2018 before Rassie Erasmus turned the Springboks into World Cup winners, but the veteran coach has his side well drilled.

Rugby World Cup 2023: Stuart Hogg joins The Independent as columnist for the tournament

We’ve got a major addition to our Rugby World Cup squad: Scotland and Lions legend Stuart Hogg has joined The Independent as a premium columnist for the tournament! The former full back, who confirmed his retirement a couple of months ago, will be offering his insight exclusively to subscribers across the next couple of months – you can sign up for access here, and read his first column below:

Stuart Hogg column: Scotland can cause a stir in wide open Rugby World Cup

In his first column of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, writing exclusively for The Independent Premium, the Scotland and Lions legend Stuart Hogg tips his nation to pull off some upsets in a tough pool…and reveals the defensive secrets behind their revival

Source: Read Full Article