“We will have to be at our very best to beat them”.
He certainly seems like the ideal partner for Paul O’Connell and although it’s only the first game, he could play a big part in Ireland’s challenge for ultimate glory.
The influential Ospreys forward has been ruled out of the Millennium Stadium clash with a knee injury, with Clermont enforcer Jamie Cudmore taking over the captaincy.
“I think we showed some respect for Canada and they deserved that”, said Ireland’s coach Joe Schmidt (via RugbyWorldCup.com). “In the southern hemisphere, you go over a bit earlier and enjoy the buzz a bit more”.
On the sizeable travelling support, he added: “It was brilliant”.
All of which points to a handsome victory for the Six Nations champions, even though their recent form has been some way short of encouraging for those Irish supporters who, at the start of the summer, considered it permissible to dream of a world title to go with the northern hemisphere one.
“But as I’ve said, he’s a world-class player and it’s always great to play against world-class competition”.
Crowley insisted his team were not there to make up the numbers. You couldn’t know who they were cheering for because we weren’t playing in Dublin. “Probably close to their top team on paper, so they’ll want to get their campaign off on the right foot”.
“It’s the one thing Ireland has been able to do in recent seasons, be consistent”. “I thought they were outstanding”, said Sexton.
With the score at 3-0 to Ireland in the 18th, Cudmore was lying on the ground next to the ball at the bottom of a ruck with the Irish on the attack, inches from the try-line when he flicked out a hand and the ball scooted away for the penalty.
Ardron’s replacement Jamie Cudmore received the latest in the long line of yellow cards that have studded his career in the first half and Ireland scored 19 points while the lock was sitting on the touchline. Sexton then had the pace to score from 40 metres after Canada failed to read an inside pass from O’Brien.
Ireland will take advantage of Luke Fitzgerald’s versatility when he stands in for injured inside centre Robbie Henshaw.
In the 28th minute, O’Brien and Sexton combined well to put the former Racing Metro man into the corner, ending the game as a contest and beginning the chase for a fifth point.
Connacht battering ram Henshaw pulled up with hamstring trouble on Tuesday in the closing stages of Ireland’s final training session before heading to Cardiff for the start of the World Cup.
“France showed in their matches against England that they are well prepared and we have to be really focused on this match”.
Sexton and Murray were both called ashore, along with the entire front-row, and the substitutions revived the contest somewhat.
Cudmore received a red card and subsequent suspension for his role, while O’Connell escaped with just a yellow.