Record-breaking Sexton sets up Ireland for statement win

September 17, 2023 9:46 am

[Source: World Rugby]

Ireland lay down a marker with an eight-try win against Tonga in Pool B in Nantes.

Ireland justified their status as the world No.1 ranked side with a brilliant bonus-point win over a physical, if disjointed Tonga side.

Driven on by fly-half Johnny Sexton, Andy Farrell’s team did a lot of the hard work during a the first 40 minutes, scoring four tries to build up a 31-13-point lead.

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The pick of the first half scores was a free-flowing team move finished off by Sexton himself, enough to take the 38-year-old past Ronan O’Gara as Ireland’s all-time record point scorer.

A number of substitutions, combined with some strong defensive work from the star-studded Tonga side, slowed Ireland’s progress after the break.

But tries from winger James Lowe, a second from standout Bundee Aki and a final-minute score from Rob Herring took the Irish beyond the 50-point mark, underlying their status as one of the tournament favourites.