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Ireland v Canada; Player Ratings

RugbyBy Sunday World
Iain Henderson (right) was our star man
Iain Henderson (right) was our star man

A comfortable 50-7 win for Ireland to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign, so here is how we rate the players.

Rob Kearney: Satisfactory, try scoring afternoon, without rising to his devastating afterburner hitting best.  6
 
Dave Kearney: Another try-scorer, his impressive autumnal run has vaulted him ahead of all other wings.  6
 
Jared Payne: A careless kick gifted Canada their try; touchdown of his own won’t save him from Schmidt’s video review wrath.  6
 
Luke Fitzgerald: Hungry in an unfamiliar position, worked diligently at breakdown; a highly positive afternoon.  7
 
Keith Earls: Produced the pass of the day for Kearney try. Fighting with Zebo/Fitzgerald for one wing berth. 6

Johnny Sexton: A near perfect 55 minutes. Try-scoring command display, kicked well, full of wit and incision, from Ireland’s marquee player.  8
 
Conor Murray: Highly effective box-kicking, sharp around the fringes; one of Schmidt’s key men.  7
 
Jack McGrath: One of Ireland’s most improved players; dominant in the scrum, will have mixed feelings about Healy’s return.  7
 
Rory Best: Linked well with Ulster colleague Henderson; the straight man in the double act with more explosive Cronin.  7
 
Mike Ross: He will never be overly visible around the pitch. Scrummaging against Italy and France will define his tournament.  6
 
Iain Henderson: Sensational. A shooting star; like a stock whose value is going through the roof. Man of the Match.  9

Paul O’Connell: Twice held up on the try-line, delivered hit of match on Canadian hooker, yellow card a negative.  7
 
Peter O’Mahony: Henderson’s ability to play six puts him under pressure. More abrasive, better ball-carrying than recent weeks.  7
 
Sean O’Brien: Excellent first half when his direct running posed questions to which Canada had no answer.  7
 
Jamie Heaslip: Did nothing particularly wrong, but still an absence of the old explosive ball-carrying. It will be needed down the line.  6
 
Replacements:  I. Madigan 7, S. Cronin 7, C. Healy 5, J. White 6, C. Henry 5, E. Reddan 5