Slick Ireland put an underwhelming warm-up campaign firmly behind them by crushing Canada 50-7 in their Rugby World Cup Pool D opener at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
The Six Nations champions, recently ranked second in the world behind New Zealand and looking to go beyond the quarterfinals for the first time, were out of sight after scoring four first-half tries.
Ireland took full advantage of Canada skipper Jamie Cudmore’s yellow card, with Sean O’Brien, Iain Henderson and Johnny Sexton crossing and Dave Kearney added a fourth score to make it 29-0 at the break.
Canada stemmed the tide for a while in the second half when Ireland captain Paul O’Connell was sin-binned, but normal service resumed when Sean Cronin barged over for another Irish try.
Canada wing DTH Van Der Merwe grabbed a consolation try, but the Irish added two more through Rob Kearneyand Jared Payne.