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Rugby World Cup: Ireland's ruthlessness is a big source of pride for happy Mike Ross

By Jonathan Bradley

Even if the ball did not quite come his way when Ireland used their man advantage to blitz Canada for three tries during Jamie Cudmore's spell in the sin bin on Saturday, Mike Ross was encouraged by the ruthlessness displayed by Ireland against Canada.

With Ireland leading 3-0 as the first quarter neared its conclusion, the Canucks captain was carded for cynical play in the ruck near his own line and by the time he returned the scoreboard read 22-0.

The third and final try before the Clermont lock was signalled back to the fray was scored by Dave Kearney, the wing holding onto the ball despite the unusual sight of props Ross and Jack McGrath streaking up his outside.

Despite not being rewarded with what would have been a first Test try on the occasion of his 53nd cap, Ross declared: "If they are down a man there is going to be space somewhere and it depends where that space is. They lost a second row today so there was going to be a space if we attacked them from a lineout maul, we knew that there would be one less guy defending against it so we took advantage of that.

"For a lot of players it is the pinnacle of their careers to be playing in a World Cup, it's a huge honour.

"The support that was there was fantastic, it was like being in Dublin."

In an international career that started late, Ross has been a near ever-present of late - missing just one of Ireland's Tests under Joe Schmidt - and, should the coach resist the temptation to give either Tadhg Furlong or Nathan White a start against Romania, the 35-year-old is expecting a battle against Lynn Howells's men.

"It's going to be a big day for the forwards because just from watching the past couple of months their scrum has been going very well and it's something they have always prided themselves on," he said.

"They have a good pack, a lot of players in the French leagues. Whatever side they put out they are going to be a tough battle up front."

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