13 Nov 2016

Ireland outplay Canada

2:23 pm on 13 November 2016

Ireland received a hero's welcome from 51,000 Dublin fans following their historic defeat of the All Blacks and then celebrated with a hard-fought and entertaining 52-21 win over Canada at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Ireland's Keith Earls.

Ireland's Keith Earls. Photo: Photosport

A week after earning their first-ever win over world champions New Zealand in Chicago, a completely revamped Irish side had a slightly absent-minded homecoming before finally overpowering the world's 18th ranked side with eight tries.

Irish coach Joe Schmidt opted to rest all the players who began the All Blacks game with a view to next weekend's feverishly-anticipated rematch and witnessed a mixture of enterprise and errors from a side that ended up giving debuts to eight players, including three in the starting XV.

The second-string side's victory, though scrappy, gave Schmidt plenty of food for thought for the All Blacks return, especially with fine returns to the international fold after injury for key forwards Sean O'Brien and captain Peter O'Mahony.

"It was good and bad really, there were some really good patches but at the same time there were some messy patches," Schmidt said. "There's a few guys out there who did quite well, it was good to see a few of the older players get some minutes."

O'Mahony added: "Everyone wants to be in an Irish shirt, it's a special jersey. A lot of players stuck their hands up tonight. We'll get stuck in on Monday, it's a big week."

After Keith Earls had been put away in the left corner in the sixth minute and then set up Luke Marshall to plough over on the other wing in the 22nd, Ireland looked ready to pulverise the opposition.

The home side got sloppy, though, with prolific wing DTH van der Merwe intercepting Marshall's pass in the Irish 22 a couple of minutes later to scoot over.

When Taylor Paris peeled off a rolling maul just before the half-hour, the scores were unexpectedly tied and Ireland needed an explosive break from Tiernan O'Halloran, courtesy of a neat offload from prop Finlay Beaham, to take a merited 21-14 lead into the break.

After the interval, Ireland cut out the loose stuff, applying such a squeeze up front that within five minute as the Canadians continually infringed in a retreating scrum, referee Marius van der Westhuizen awarded a penalty try.

Still, Canada would not lie down, fullback Matt Evans speeding over in the left corner to narrow the deficit again but the Irish responded with thunderous aggression, impressive lock Ultan Dillane scoring almost straight after the restart.

With the Canucks tiring swiftly near the end, Kieran Marmion, O'Halloran, with his second score, and debutant James Tracy all went over in the final 15 minutes as Paddy Jackson took his tally of conversions to six.

- Reuters