The Irish easily beat Tonga 59-16 on Saturday in Nantes in Pool D, confirming their rise in power in the 2023 World Cup, with offensive bonus and Johnny Sexton's record for the number of points scored in the green jersey (1090).
The Irish thus have ten points in the standings after two matches before the two shocks against South Africa and Scotland. They have already scored 141 points in two games.
After the Irish victory over a weak team from Romania (82-8), we expected a lot from this match in Nantes against a team from Tonga which had four former All Blacks in its XV: Charles Piutau (back), Malakai Fekitoa (center ), Augustine Pulu (scrum half) and Vaea Fifita (third row), as well as former Wallaby Adam Coleman in the second row.
But more was needed to raise doubts and counter an Irish team that is still as solid and well-oiled, which also knows how to be ingenious offensively, proving once again that its status as the best nation in the world in the World Rugby rankings was anything but usurped.
Tonga, who were making their debut in the competition, showed great fighting spirit, dishing out fierce tackles. But they suffered in static phases and rucks, showing too much indiscipline to compete.
Johnny Sexton sets a record
The 2nd line Tadgh Beirne (212), the 3rd line Caelan Doris (26th), Mack Hansen after a tightrope walk on his wing (33rd) and Johnny Sexton allowed Ireland to secure the offensive bonus before the break and to widen a large gap on the scoreboard (31-13 at half-time).
In the 38th minute, Johnny Sexton had the luxury of breaking the points record in Ronan O'Gara's green jersey with a try under the posts which made the approximately 12,000 Irish supporters present exult.
Upon returning from the locker room, coach Andy Farrell did not hesitate to preserve his strategist by replacing him with his understudy Ross Byrne. After a slight drop in performance between the 40th and 60th minute, the Irish continued their attempts against the helpless Tongans.
Ireland now has a week to prepare for a match that will have the entire rugby world salivating against the Springboks on September 23 at the Stade de France. The “Eagles of the Seas” will face Scotland on September 24 for their next match.