Sexton shines as Ireland dismantle Canada
By Nick Mulvenney
CARDIFF (Reuters) - Flyhalf Jonny Sexton gave a masterclass in game management as Ireland asserted their Rugby World Cup title credentials with a thumping 50-7 bonus point victory over Canada in their Pool D opener on Saturday.
The Six Nations champions dominated the set piece, looked slick and creative in the backline and ran in seven tries under the closed roof at the Millennium Stadium.
Sexton contributed nine points from the kicking tee in his 55 minutes on the pitch and scored the pick of Ireland's tries, racing 40 meters to touch down in the 28th minute after being set free by a neat inside pass from Sean O'Brien.
Both captains spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin in a match that was otherwise played in a good spirit but it was the yellow card shown to Canada's Jamie Cudmore that proved the more costly.
The Irish scored their first three tries through flanker O'Brien, second row Iain Henderson and Sexton in the abrasive lock's absence to lead 22-0 after less than half an hour.
The Canucks played with plenty of passion but were never going to recover from such a large early deficit and winger Dave Kearney secured the bonus point after a sweeping Irish move five minutes before halftime.
"I think we showed a fair bit of respect for Canada and they demonstrated why they deserved that respect," Ireland coach Joe Schmidt told reporters.
"For us to build our way into the game and successfully put phases together effectively to build scoreboard pressure on them was satisfying." Continued...