Saturday 18 November 2017

Five things we learned from Ireland’s resounding win over Canada

Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15
Canada's Brett Beukeboom and Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in action during a lineout
Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers
Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada's Brett Beukeboom and Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in action during a lineout Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Tattoos on the legs of Canada's Ray Barkwill Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Canada's John Moonlight appears dejected during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Ireland's Iain Henderson tackles Canada's Conor Trainor (right) during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jared Payne is tackled Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in action Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Ireland's Rory Best gets tackled by Canada's Djustice Sears-Duru (left) during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fan in fancy dress looks dejected Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland fans pose before the match Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fan Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald (right) gets tackled during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fans Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fan looks dejected Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Paul O'Connell in action during a lineout Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Rob Kearney in action with Canada's John Moonlight during a lineout Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
General view as a decision goes to the TMO (Television Match Official) and he decides No Try during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland line up before the game Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
General view as a decision goes to the TMO during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fans Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fan Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fans look dejected Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 General view of a TMO announcement on the big screen Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jared Payne has his kick blocked by Canada's DTH van der Merwe Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Ireland's Peter O'Mahony is tackled by Canada's Kyle Gilmour (left) and Nick Blevins (right) during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Paul O'Connell in action during a lineout Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Paul O'Connell in action during a lineout Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Referee Glen Jackson (R) listens to the TMO official before he disallows a Canada try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Canada fan in fancy dress looks dejected Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Referee Glen Jackson disallows a Canada try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Ireland's Keith Earls in action during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton runs in a try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Referee Glen Jackson during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton races clear to score his side's third try of the game during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton celebrates scoring his side's third try of the game during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores his side's third try of the game during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton scores a try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores his side's third try of the game during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland fans hold up try banners Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton celebrates scoring a try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton scores a try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Iain Henderson celebrates scoring their second try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton runs in a try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jonathan Sexton kicks Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in action with Canada's Brett Beukeboom during a lineout Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Iain Henderson scores their second try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald (centre) is tackled by Canada's Ciaran Hearn (left) and Jeff Hassler during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Sean O'Brien celebrates scoring a try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 General view of an Ireland scrum Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Iain Henderson scores their second try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 General view of an Ireland scrum Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Sean O'Brien runs in to score a try Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Paul O'Connell of Ireland is sent to the sin bin during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Ireland and Canada at the Millennium Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's wing Dave Kearney (L) kicks the ball by Canada's fly half Liam Underwood during a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between Ireland and Canada at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff
Fans wearing celebrity masks at the Rugby World Cup clash between Ireland and Canda. LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images.
Matt Evans of Canada and Luke Fitzgerald of Ireland challenge for a high ball in their Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images).
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Seven tries and fine performance for Ireland as they vanquished Canada 50-7 in Cardiff but what did we glean from the game.

1) Ireland get the mental pitch right

Canada are obviously at a lower standard than the teams Ireland hope to turn over later in the tournament, but Ireland’s recent record when beginning the World Cup against minnows is underwhelming, and in that context the game was a success.

Granted, Ireland first pool game against USA in 2011 was waterlogged, but the turgid performance was substantially worse than the one Joe Schmidt’s men turned in today, and only yielded a 12-point win. Likewise, Ireland laboured against Namibia for long periods when starting the 2007 World Cup.

Today Ireland were sharp, clinical and tried things without showing carelessness or a lack of respect to the opposition. The players, coaches and fans couldn’t have asked for more.

The second half showed a drop-off in intensity, but only because Ireland had pulled away so significantly after the first 40.

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Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland line up before the game Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic

2) Schmidt shows his hand (slightly)

One big positive for the Irish team was the unveiling of a few of Joe Schmidt’s patented strike plays. Johnny Sexton executed that loop move to perfection on a few occasions including in the build-up to Dave Kearney’s well taken first-half try.

There was also a concerted effort to run decoys line in the opposition 22 to create confusion within the Canadian defence, and Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald both made good ground in the opening exchanges as a result. Ian Madigan continued this trend with a beautiful dummy to a decoy runner just before Sean Cronin's score.

Ireland were criticised during the warm-up games for their narrow attack but today showed that they have been working to expand their game plan going forward.

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'In terms of organisation and skill, Joe Schmidt’s men should be vastly superior to the Canadians'
 

3) Sexton hits top form

If there was any doubt that Johnny Sexton was swaggering after 20 minutes of flawless rugby, then we knew for sure after he received a ball in his own 22 and pinged a cross-kick right into the hands of Jared Payne.

Before then, the out-half had shown all the skills necessary for Ireland to win this tournament. He executed the aforementioned backline moves with razor-sharp handling, he pinned the Canadians on their own line with some pinpoint tactical kicking and he even got on the score-sheet after sprinting into the left corner.

Ireland will live and die by Sexton’s performances. In the warm-up games he struggled, and Ireland couldn’t overcome it. Today’s return to form could not have been more timely as the World Cup continues to ramp up.

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Ireland's Johnny Sexton races clear to score his side's third try of the game during the Rugby World Cup match at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.

4) Henderson takes his chance

At this stage, the only sure-fire way to get Iain Henderson to ground is with a strong dose of elephant tranquilizer. Just like he did against Wales in the warm-up game at the Aviva, Henderson took a short-range ball and blasted over three tacklers to score. His carrying isn’t just a big asset for Ireland to have; it is quickly developing into one of the strongest parts of the attack.

Sean O’Brien isn’t having the same gain line success that we have been accustomed to, so it is crucial that Henderson remains in the team to ensure Ireland maintain that robustness in attack.

The big question for Schmidt is whether to play him at second row in place of Toner or at flanker, possibly in place of Peter O’Mahony.

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Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Iain Henderson scores their second try Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic

5) Leave the kicking to the experts

Sexton and Conor Murray kicked excellently throughout but the same can’t be said for some of the other backs. Jared Payne was guilty of a few poor grubber kicks, one in the first half as Sexton sprinted clear in support and another late on that was ran back for a try by DTH Van der Merwe.

Brian O’Driscoll's deft grubbers were massive for Ireland and his successor needs to tidy up that portion of his game or abandoned it completely.

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Rugby Union - Ireland v Canada - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool D - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/9/15 Ireland's Jared Payne is tackled Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic
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