IRELAND got their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign off to a wonderful start with a dominant 50-7 win over Canada on Saturday, and we've handed each player a rating for their performance.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jonathan Sexton - The Leinster out-half was in irrepressible form in his 60 minutes on the field. Continuously made the right decisions. He kicked well out of hand, organised Ireland’s attacking play and scored a wonderful try.
Rob Kearney - 7 - Didn’t put a foot wrong and capped off his day with a try. Still needs to find his top level though.
Dave Kearney - 8 - Maintained his recent form. Scored a terrific try and made a good catch from Ian Madigan’s cross-field kick near the finish.
Jared Payne - 7 - Scored a good try and carried strongly throughout but was at fault for Canada’s try.
Luke Fitzgerald - 7 - Was afforded plenty of space in midfield and made Canada pay by setting up Ireland’s fourth try. Still not convinced of his credentials at centre.
Keith Earls - 8 - Counter attacked all day and put Rob Kearney’s try on a plate with a terrific pass.
Jonathan Sexton - 10 - The Leinster out-half was outstanding during his hour on the field. Was commanding with a flawless performance.
Conor Murray - 8 - Kept the tempo high during the first half and box-kicked well.
Jack McGrath - 8 - Scrummed well, tackled well and was a nuisance at the breakdown.
Rory Best - 7 - Helped Henderson over the line for Ireland’s second try. Played his part in a dominant lineout and scrum.
Mike Ross - 7 - Anchored the scrum and won a host of penalties. Indispensable to this Irish team.
Iain Henderson - 9 - The standout player in the Irish squad over the last few weeks. Once again the Ulsterman put in a fantastic performance. Scored one try and almost got a second at the death.
Paul O’Connell - 8 - The captain turned up everywhere in the loose throughout the first half. Carried and rucked with his usual ferocity.
Peter O’Mahony - 7 - Cleared out rucks as Ireland overcame the Canadian backrow and carried well.
Sean O’Brien - 7 - A much improved display from his last outing. Continually got over the gain-line and put Ireland on the front foot.
Jamie Heaslip - 7 - Was quiet in the loose until he made a terrific break near the end. Contributed as Ireland won the battle of the backrows.
Sean Cronin - 8 - Scored a try, won possession on the ground and made a terrific impact off the bench.
Cian Healy - 6 - Great to see him back on the field for Ireland.
Nathan White - 6 - The last 10 minutes didn’t lend itself for tight-head play.
Donnacha Ryan - 7 - Contributed hard work that saw Ireland finish well in the final 10 minutes.
Chris Henry - 6 - Continued where O’Brien left off but didn’t stand out.
Eoin Reddan - 7 - Increased the tempo in the last 20 minutes after a dull opening to the second half.
Ian Madigan - 8 - Played very well after his introduction from the boot and with ball in hand. A lovely break for Payne’s try.
Simon Zebo - 6 - Didn’t get a lot of ball to display his talents
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Dave Kearney, Jared Payne, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Iain Henderson, Paul O’Connell (captain); Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Subs: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Nathan White, Donnacha Ryan, Chris Henry, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Simon Zebo.
Canada: Matt Evans, Jeff Hassler, Ciaran Hearn, Nick Blevins, DTH Van Der Merwe, Nathan Hirayama, Gordon McRorie, Aaron Carpenter, John Moonlight, Kyle Gilmour, Jamie Cudmore (captain), Brett Beukeboom, Doug Wooldridge, Ray Barkwill, Hubert Buydens.
Subs: Benoit Piffero, Djustics Sears-Duru, Andrew Tiedemann, Jebb Sinclair, Richard Thorpe, Phil Mack, Liam Underwood, Conor Trainor.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand).