Rugby World Cup: Ireland hammer Canada 50-7
The eighth Rugby World Cup continues on Saturday when Ireland tackles Canada at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff.
It's a big game for…
Luke Fitzgerald: The talk of Ireland's side heading into the tournament centred around the up and coming centre Robbie Henshaw, but injury means the Connacht man will miss the opener against Canada.
One a permanent fixture on the wing, Fitzgerald now gets his chance in the centre where it could be argued that Ireland may struggle without the physicality of Henshaw.
If Fitzgerald performs against Canada – and possibly Romania a week on Sunday – who’s to say that he won’t force his way in somewhere along the back line.
Ireland: R Kearney; D Kearney, Payne, Fitzgerald, Earls; Sexton, Murray; McGrath, Best, Ross; Henderson, O’Connell; O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip.
Replacements: Cronin, Healy, White, Ryan, Henry, Reddan, Madigan, Zebo.
Canada: Evans; Hassler, Hearn, Blevins, Van der Merwe; Hirayama, McRorie; Buydens, Barkwill, Wooldridge; Beukeboom, Cudmore; Gilmour, Moonlight, Carpenter.
Replacements: Piffero, Sears-Duru, Tiedemann, Sinclair, Thorpe, Mack, Underwood, Trainor.
Six: Ireland have not lost to Canada in all six of their meetings since their first meeting back in 1987. However, they did come close to defeat in 2000, when a brave Canadian side pushed the Irish all the way to a 27-27 draw in Markham.
Player to watch…
Sean O’Brien: At his best the man is unstoppable, and with him and No 8 Jamie Heaslip the Irish back-row certainly comes with a fair amount of oomph. At 28, O’Brien cannot be sure of playing in another World Cup and given this one is the closest he will get to a home tournament (given 2019 will be hosted by Japan) he will want to deliver to the best of his abilities. If Canada allow him to rumble over the gainline repeatedly, the Irish will be in store for an easy day at the office.
Past three meetings…
Canada 14 (Ardron) Ireland 40 (Trimble, McFadden 3, Cave, O’Donnell,) International Test, June 2013.
Canada 6 Ireland 25 (Vancouver), International Test, May 2009.
Ireland 55 (Earls, Kearney 2, Heaslip, Bowe 2, Wallace, Quinlan) Canada 0, International Test, November 2008.
Belfast Telegraph Digital