Ireland rout Canada
June 16, 2013
Andrew Trimble capped his 50th Test with a try, having played just one international since Ireland toured New Zealand in 2012
© Getty Images
Ireland survived a minor scare to defeat Canada at BMO Stadium in Toronto, scoring four converted tries in the second half to run away with a victory after the hosts had threatened an upset when they took the lead through Tyler Ardron shortly after the interval.
Ireland led by three points at the break, courtesy of a converted try by Andrew Trimble, replacing Simon Zebo on the left wing after the Munster flyer was called up to the British & Irish Lions squad, and an unconverted try by fellow winger Fergus McFadden.
Ardron gave the home crowd reason to cheer when the flanker crashed over to give Canada a two-point lead, but the try served only to waken the beast and the tourists overpowered their hosts with a dominant second-half performance. McFadden crossed twice more, including on the buzzer to complete his hat-trick to send the large Irish contingent in the record 20,396 crowd - the second record-breaking attendance in Ireland's tour of North America - home happy, while Darren Cave and Tommy O'Donnell completed the list of try scorers. Ian Madigan converted three tries while Paddy Jackson converted two. Canada's James Pritchard finished the first half as his country's top scorer having passed Gareth Rees with three penalties.
Ireland produce a much-improved performance after winning by just three points against the US Eagles in Houston last weekend, and they started strongly and claimed an early score against Canada. Devin Toner took Richardt Strauss' throw and Isaac Boss went off the top, finding Madigan who delivered a clever kick which McFadden took on the full. From quick ruck ball, Madigan fed James Downey whose pass was expertly picked up by Felix Jones to find Trimble.
Madigan converted from the touchline, but Canada hit back with Jebb Sinclair putting in a huge hit on Jones before the Irish line strayed offside. Pritchard made it 7-6 before the Australian-born winger broke the record and put his team in front after Peter O'Mahony had played the ball in an offside position. The Ireland captain was involved in an altercation with Canada scrum-half Phil Mack after he had stamped on him at a ruck as things got heated. But Madigan was staying cool and he delivered a pinpoint cross kick for McFadden who fielded it, skipped past Taylor Paris and handed Connor Braid off to score.
Ireland started the second half loosely, and Boss was penalised for not using the ball at the base of a ruck. Canada captain Aaron Carpenter caught McLaughlin napping from the ensuing scrum and fed Mack who raced down the wing. He was caught short, but the forwards took over and Ardron crashed over. Pritchard missed the conversion but Canada led 14-12.
Ireland retook the lead after 55 minutes as McLaughlin scythed through the cover, offloading to Darren Cave who crossed under the posts, with Madigan making no mistake. And their next try was out of the second row union as Dan Tuohy led with the elbow on Ciaran Hearn but got away with it, before finding Toner and he off-loaded to McFadden who scored his second, Madigan converting before being replaced by Paddy Jackson.
O'Donnell crossed for his first Ireland try on his first start with just over 10 minutes to go, picking up Paul Marshall's ambitious pass and powering through, with Jackson converting, before McFadden capped the performance in the last play of the game.
Ireland interim coach Les Kiss was full of praise for hat-trick hero McFadden following the game. "Fergus is just one of those players you want to have around your team," he said. "He is such a great character. What he brings to a team in terms of energy and enthusiasm is sensational.
"If he doesn't get selected he is still the same person. He has an uncanny ability to score tries at international level. Last week he shipped an injury in the game and he toughed his way through it. He trained through a bit of injury this week and got a knock in the game again but just keeps powering on. I can't speak highly enough about him and the way he played."
Reflecting on a tour that has seen Ireland blood six new caps, Kiss added: "Without a doubt we found out a little about ourselves as players," he said. "From a coaching perspective it was certainly encouraging on a lot of fronts. Sometimes the perception is you can come and get these tier two nations and run it away easily but they were both tough affairs."
The game was played in front of a record crowd for a Canadian rugby match of 20,396, while winger James Pritchard broke Gareth Rees' points scoring record of 491. He said: "We've never come across a crowd like this in Canada. We've played overseas in places like Ireland and those teams are used to those sorts of crowds. If you go into that dressing room you will see how devastated everybody in there is.
"We wanted a good performance, we wanted to go out and show that rugby in Canada has come a long way and I think everyone in there just felt that we've let the 20,000 people down tonight."
© ESPN Autralia / New Zealand with PA Sport
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin