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Rugby World Cup: Ireland have plenty of positives to build on from Canada match: Jamie Heaslip

By Jonathan Bradley

Even if the pace of the game caught slightly him by surprise, Jamie Heaslip was thrilled to see Ireland put Canada to the sword in the first-half of Saturday's World Cup encounter.

"There was a lot of pace in that game and the breakdown on both sides was quite physical and abrasive," the number 8 reflected.

"Literally from kick-off we had four-and-a-half minutes of the ball in play. I think overall the ball was in play a lot in that game.

"It was really quite tough. I remember thinking there were only a few minutes left and realising there was a lot more.

"It was a fast game and both teams paid the price. Both sides spread the ball and used the whole width of the pitch to play some good attacking rugby.

"We've focused on this game for quite some time.

"We got a couple of lucky bounces and some of our scores we got some plays going that we'd worked on.

"The bonus point came very quickly which surprised all of us.

"We caught them on the hop a little bit but we were slow to get going in the second half and get into the tempo of the game.

"But we're happy with the result and the outcome."

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While the pace initially dipped in the second-half, Ireland's charge was re-ignited by the use of Joe Schmidt's bench with Heaslip especially thrilled to see his provincial teammate Cian Healy back in a green shirt.

The dynamic loosehead had not played since Leinster's defeat to Ulster back in April thanks to neck surgery and had been a doubt for the tournament throughout the summer.

"When I saw Church (Healy) come on to the field I thought that was a pretty good moment for him," said Heaslip.

"You heard the noise from all the fans and they were glad to see him getting back out there. He got a bit of a trot as well.

"He's had a tough road to recovery, but he is back with a bang. I was rooming with him the last two months and he's been pretty giddy to have the opportunity to get out there and it was great to see.

"I was happy it was a scrum that he was coming out to and he made his presence known on that field.

"That was why we were so keen to get him back, he's a serious presence."

In Healy's absence, Jack McGrath laid down a marker in the number 1 jersey and Heaslip sees the battle for a starting spot with both Leinster and Ireland as a good indicator of the depth in the squad.

"The last Six Nations the bench pretty much won us the competition in terms of points difference, tries scored and stuff like that.

"A competition like this, when you're limited in the amount of people you can select from, you need players there that it doesn't matter who steps in, who's not there, who's coming off the bench, you need that kind of group standard.

"Jack and Church, that's just one position, we're spoilt all over the field in terms of quality."

Belfast Telegraph


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