DOWN AND ROUT: Dave Kearney goes flat out as he crosses the line to score Ireland's fourth try
CARDIFF, 19 Sept - Coach Joe Schmidt spoke with a degree of satisfaction after Ireland scored seven tries in beating Canada 50-7 in their opening Pool D game at the Millennium Stadium.
Tries from Sean O'Brien, Iain Henderson, Johnny Sexton and David Kearney set the trend before half-time, with Sean Cronin, Rob Kearney and Jared Payne touching down in the second half.
Canada, who played with typical courage and commitment throughout, helped themselves to a late consolation when DTH Van Der Merwe raced 40 metres to score his side's only try.
The day, though, belonged to Schmidt's Ireland and more than 50,000 travelling supporters who transformed the Millennium Stadium into a sea of green.
“I think we showed some respect for Canada and they deserved that,” Schmidt said.
“They're a combative side and difficult to out-muscle. However, we built the scoreboard pressure on them and that was satisfying.
“It's sometimes difficult after you've built a good first-half lead, to stay structured and disciplined. In those terms, we were probably a bit disappointing. But at the same time, Canada made it difficult for us.
“They've got some elusive and effective ball runners and they made it tough for us to stay in control of all aspects of our game.
”However, I'm pleased that we've made a winning start and now we can turn our attention to the next game.”
To their credit, Canada stood toe to toe with Schmidt's side for the best part of 15 minutes.
The game turned against them when captain Jamie Cudmore was shown a yellow card for playing the ball with his hand on the floor, as Ireland threatened the Canadian line.
With the Clermont lock off the field and Canada forced to pack down without their second row talisman, Ireland helped themselves to three tries in 10 minutes. O'Brien, Iain Henderson and Johnny Sexton all crossed the whitewash to leave Ireland in the driving seat. Dave Kearney added a fourth and Ireland led 29-0 at half time.
Paul O'Connell's yellow card, shortly after half-time, led to a spell during which Canada were on top, but the Canucks were unable to turn their pressure into points as Ireland displayed the same qualities in defence as they had in attack.
Canada coach Kieran Crowley said: “We conceded 19 points when we were a man down and when they were down to 14, we failed to score.
”I was pleased with the way we played, but we have got to take our chances in the red zone. That is certainly something we need to look at.”
When O'Connell returned, Cronin, Rob Kearney and replacement Jared Payne added further tries with Van der Merwe earning Canada a standing ovation when he intercepted David Kearney's chip kick near half way and crossed for a try that Nathan Hirayama converted.
Ireland move on to play Romania in their second game with Schmidt keen to spread the workload throughout his squad.
“There are some guys who haven't had a lot of game time like Cian Healey," he said.
"So, through these first two games the idea would be for them all to get some game time in preparation for the back end of the pool. But we have to be conscious that every game will be tough.”