Ireland 59-16 Tonga: Johnny Sexton breaks record as Irish claim bonus-point World Cup win

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Ireland Triumphs 59-16 Over Tonga as Johnny Sexton Achieves Record-Breaking Feat in Bonus-Point World Cup Victory

Ireland 59-16 Tonga, Irish claim bonus-point World Cup win, Johnny Sexton breaks, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, sport

Ireland asserted its dominance in the Rugby World Cup with a commanding performance against Tonga, securing a bonus-point victory in Nantes. The match held a special significance for Johnny Sexton, who made history on this landmark night.

The Six Nations Grand Slam champions wasted no time as they swiftly accumulated early tries, courtesy of Tadhg Beirne, Caelan Doris, and Mack Hansen. Notably, Johnny Sexton added a fourth try to his name, surpassing Ronan O’Gara as Ireland’s all-time leading scorer.

Vaea Fifita managed to score one for Tonga just before halftime, but it was Ireland’s night as they continued to impress with James Lowe, Bundee Aki (scoring two), and Rob Herring adding to their tally.

This victory propelled Ireland to 10 points in the tournament, setting the stage for their highly anticipated clash with defending champions South Africa in Paris next week.

Despite Tonga’s spirited efforts, Ireland’s near full-strength lineup proved too formidable. Sexton, in particular, played a pivotal role in securing another victory for Ireland, ending the night with a career total of 1,090 points and establishing himself as Ireland’s all-time leading scorer. Remarkably, he did this before being substituted at halftime, his mission successfully accomplished with the bonus point secured.

While Tonga displayed early promise, especially with the exchange of penalties between Sexton and William Havili, Ireland soon took control. Beirne broke through Tonga’s resistance, stretching to touch down under the posts following a play initiated by Sexton.

Ireland centre Bundee Aki continued his excellent form as he scored two tries to bring his tournament tally to four

Despite Havili’s penalties reducing the deficit, Tonga’s indiscipline cost them dearly, allowing Ireland to claim their second try through Doris. Mack Hansen then showcased his skills, dancing through Tonga’s defense to extend Ireland’s lead.

Bundee Aki, who continued his outstanding form, scored two tries, taking his total to four in the tournament. Captain Sexton completed his night’s work by crossing the Tongan defense for his third try, surpassing O’Gara’s scoring record, and converting the try before being substituted at halftime.

Tonga displayed resilience and managed to score through Fifita after Peter O’Mahony’s sin-binning, but they couldn’t maintain the momentum. Ireland’s relentless pursuit of tries bore fruit as Lowe and Herring added to the scoreline.

With this victory, Ireland could savor a well-deserved break before their attention turns to the highly anticipated showdown against South Africa at the Stade de France. The team’s performance left little doubt that the best is yet to come from this relentless Irish side.

Teams:

Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Murray; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Baird, Casey, Byrne, Henshaw.

Sin-bin: O’Mahony (40+3)

Tonga: Piutau; Taumoepeau, Fekitoa, Ahki, Kata; Havili, Pulu; Fisi’ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna (capt); Lousi, Fifita; Halaifonua, Talitui, Fifita

Replacements: Moli, Koloamatangi, Apikotoa, Paea, Funaki, Vailanu, Takulula, Inisi.

Referee: Wayne Barnes”

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/66822174

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