Ireland overwhelm Tonga as Wales outmuscle Portugal

By Paul Myers - RFI
Europe AP - Thibault Camus
AP - Thibault Camus

Ireland and Wales enjoyed wins over Tonga and Portugal respectively on Saturday to maintain their 100 percent records at the rugby union World Cup.

Ireland - the world's top ranked team - shrugged off a slow start to pulverize Tonga 59-16.

During the game at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes, skipper Jonathan Sexton became Ireland's highest points scorer.

The 38-year-old started the match 10 points from surpassing Ronan O'Gara's mark of 1,083 points.

After converting his side's first three tries and a penalty, Sexton passed O'Gara's milestone when he scored his 18th try for his country in the 38th minute. Another conversion took him up to 1,090 points with the likelihood of more points to come in the remaining Group B games against South Africa and Scotland.

"It's not about personal achievements for us," said Sexton after entering the record books.

"It's about winning the next game and we're delighted to get the result against a very good Tongan team.

"It's on to the next week now against South Africa," Sexton added. "It will be a massive game for us against the reigning world champions. It's all geared towards that now."

Bundee Aki was deemed man-of-the-match for his two tries.

"The team did a lot of good things," said Aki. "A lot of other things we can work on as a team. We weren't as clinical as we wanted to be, a lot of dumb penalties given away. I know we got the points we wanted but we're still not happy with the way we performed.

"Next week will be an even bigger test for us and I'm sure we'll go out there and give it our best."

Soon after Samoa inflicted a second defeat on debutants Chile, Wales pursued their march towards a quarter-final berth with a 28-8 victory over Portugal in Nice.

Two tries in each half allowed Warren Gatland's players to obtain a bonus point against a team from a nation making only its second appearance at the World Cup.


"We're really proud, especially as we have so many fans cheering for us," said Portugal skipper Tomas Appleton.

"We made too many mistakes and at this level you suffer, so we need to correct a lot of things but most of our guys are amateur so it's such a big moment to stand here in front of so many fans.

"It's such a big stage and we just want to inspire a young generation of kids to start to play rugby back home."

Portugal continue their campaign with a match against Georgia on 23 September in Toulouse while Wales will face Australia the following day in Lyon for teh match that could determine who wins the Group C and which outfit ends as runners-up.

On Sunday in Bordeaux in Group B, South Africa play Romania. That is followed by the Group C game between Australia and Fiji in Saint-Etienne and the second weekend of action culminates in Nice with the Group D clash between England and Japan.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024