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The International Media Reaction To Ireland Hammering Canada

The International Media Reaction To Ireland Hammering Canada
By PJ Browne Updated

Reaction has been mostly positive to Ireland's opening game of the Rugby World Cup.

After an underwhelming final two warm-up matches, Joe Schmidt's side kicked to touch any lingering fears that we could have a repeat the 2007 fiasco in France.

One of the more negative comments on Ireland's performance comes from Paul Rees in The Guardian. His belief in the Irish defence is not matched by his belief in the Irish attack.

If defence is to be the deciding factor in the World Cup, Ireland will be among the contenders, but if the destiny of the tournament comes down to attack, they will not be in the mix. They scored seven tries against a side containing part-timers, but their play was more wooden than wondrous.

Writing for Reuters, Nick Mulvenney felt Johnny Sexton gave a 'masterclass in game management'.

First five-eighth 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.

In The Telegraph, Tom Cary described Sexton as playing akin to an NFL quarterback.

Ireland were rampant, with Sexton dictating play like an NFL quarterback, winning his side territory with two superb touchfinders, one in each corner, and running in one try in the corner himself as he passed 500 international points for Ireland, and even producing a cheeky crossfield kick from under his own posts to Jared Payne.

Man of the Match Sexton was the focus of praise in the majority reports, including by John Haughey for BBC Sport who called the Irish outhalf 'flawless' in his kicking. Sexton himself and Joe Schmidt likely would not agree with that assessment.

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After having to deal with back-foot ball in Ireland's two most recent games, Sexton was back to his brilliant best as he kicked flawlessly and also showed an impressive turn of foot to run in Ireland's third try.

Sexton is probably more important to Ireland's World Cup prospects than even Paul O'Connell or Conor Murray.

So once he had produced his first-half brilliance, Schmidt wasn't going to wait long in the second half before calling his fly-half star ashore.

Rugby World magazine was pretty positive about Ireland generally though did feel Schmidt will not be happy with the quantity of penalties his team conceded.

Ireland may have secured the bonus point but they will be disappointing they weren’t more clinical. A few inaccurate cross-kicks and bad decisions cost them tries – and they will need to be more ruthless to top Pool D. The number of penalties Ireland conceded will also be a worry for Joe Schmidt.

The BBC conducted a survey of Ireland's title chances on their live blog of the game with 8% of voters feeling Paul O'Connell will lift the Webb Ellis Trophy on October 31st. Not sure about the math on this though.

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Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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