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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Bonus with the bruises

By Brian O'Driscoll
Ireland centre

I am really hurting. I don't think anybody realises what a very physical team Romania are and everyone is suffering from bruises of some sort.

I got a real tanking and was winded for an age. I just couldn't breathe. I thought my rib cage was in splinters.

I don't think anybody is suffering too much, although both Keith Wood and David Humphreys got bangs to the head.

Brian O'Driscoll fends off a Romanian tackler
I suppose you cannot complain when you score five tries
But I can say that it will be great preparation for the rest of our games. They took a long time to break down, but we will take the victory.

Up front they were very, very tough and we had to work extremely hard to gain an advantage.

They have a lot of experience in their side, and they worked hard on their defence.

There was also times when they had us under tremendous pressure, but our defence held up pretty well.

Argentina play the same sort of game with a physical approach up front, although they have a lot more flair behind the scrum.

But in the end we scored some cracking tries which gave us a lot of satisfaction.

Denis Hickie's first try was a real gem, and he took his second extremely well with great support. Unfortunately it means he is drawing well away from me in the try-scoring stakes.

IRELAND'S TOP TRY SCORERS
D Hickie 22 tries (41 caps)
B O'Driscoll 18 tries (42)
B Mullin 17 tries (55)
K Wood 15 tries (54)
Another two from him and he is out of sight - what a pain. I have already given up thoughts of retaking that Irish try record.

The last time I scored was way back in the last Six Nations against Italy.

We were delighted to see Shaggy (Shane Horgan) and the Bull (John Hayes) come through after being out for nearly six moths.

I though Shaggy in particular had a tremendous game, and a real glutton for work. Great to have him back.

The Bull looked as if he was never away either. He was his usual strong-man act in the scrums and he was doing his usual quota of work around the park.

I suppose really you cannot complain when you score five tries. We wanted first and foremost to win the game, so the bonus point is a perfect way to start the competition.

There is a long way to go in this tournament and many twists and turn ahead. At least we will have a little time before our next match to recover and relieve the stiffness and bruising.





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