The key points from Ireland’s demolition of Canada

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By Simon Lewis

Key moment: It was always going to be an uphill struggle for Canada but when they lost the services of their captain, Clermont lock Jamie Cudmore, to a yellow card in the 18th minute it spelled disaster. The score had been 3-0 to Ireland but Cudmore’s 10 minutes in the sin bin allowed Ireland to settle in and they scored three tries in short succession, two of them converted, effectively killing the game inside the first quarter.

Talking point: Joe Schmidt will be delighted to have got the tournament up and running at last as his players did all that was asked of them in seeing off a game and physical team mixed with pros and amateurs. With a bonus point secured inside the first half, Ireland lost their way a little after the interval but the a rousing finish made this an encouraging platform for the Irish to build towards the crucial Pool D game against France in three weeks.

Key man Johnny Sexton got his World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a wonderful kicking display that manoeuvred Ireland into excellent positions, allowing his pack to provide just the sort of platform necessary to rack up the points, including a first-half break and turn of speed for a try in the 28th minute.

Ref watch: New Zealand’s Glen Jackson had little option but to yellow card Cudmore when he rashly pushed Ireland ruck ball away from Conor Murray’s hands. Equally clearcut in his eyes was a yellow for Paul O’Connell, for a blatant offside coming back from behind the Canadian line.

Penalties conceded: Ireland 10 Canada 8

Injuries: Cian Healy came off the bench for his first action since neck surgery in May and got through 20 minutes, almost scoring a try from short-range, only to be denied for failing to ground the ball. There was an issue for Luke Fitzgerald, though, withdrawn after taking a late hit in the last 10 minutes.

Next up: The Canadians will move to Leeds where they will face Italy at Elland Road next Saturday while Ireland have an extra day’s recovery as they decamp to the FA’s centre of excellence St George’s Park in Burton On Trent ahead of Sunday’s Wembley encounter with Romania.

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