10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
IRELAND 'A' 39 CANADA 20, Sandy Park, Exeter
Scorers: Ireland 'A': Tries: Ryan Caldwell, Darren Cave, Keith Earls, John Hearty, Johnny O'Connor, Jeremy Staunton; Cons: Jeremy Staunton 3; Pen: Jeremy Staunton
Canada: Tries: Craig Culpan, Dean Van Camp; Cons: James Pritchard 2; Pens: James Pritchard 2
Full-time - IRELAND 'A' 39 CANADA 20
80 mins: A late chance for Cave to nab his second try of the night but his 30-metre run is ended by a crunching hit by Aaron Carpenter. Canada regroup, but it has been all Ireland for the past five minutes. Referee Small blows the final whistle - Ireland 'A' are off to a winning start in Pool B.
79 mins: The Irish management empty the bench with flanker John Muldoon and hooker Sean Cronin getting on for caps. Staunton is announced as the Barclays man of the match.
77 mins: IRELAND TRY! It is game over as Staunton jinks his way past a flatfooted Ryan Smith and rounds in behind the posts for an opportunistic and deserved try. Staunton converts for 39-20.
75 mins: Ireland almost get over for try - Staunton, who has grown in confidence as the game progressed, sends a delightful chip in behind the Canadian defence with full-back Pyke out of position. McKenzie hares up and just about collects the ball, but the Ulster man knocks on and the chance goes a-begging.
72 mins: Near miss for Canada as from a catch and drive, Glasgow front rower Kevin Tkachuk looks to have got the ball down for a try. But neither referee or TMO Spreadbury can spot a grounding and the Irish lead remains at 12 points.
69 mins: IRELAND 'A' PENALTY! Staunton flights over his first penalty of the night to add some cushion to Ireland's lead. Kieran Campbell and Fergus McFadden are on as replacements at scrum half and inside centre respectively.
60 mins: IRELAND 'A' TRY! Ireland get over for a fifth try, converted by Staunton, to get themselves back into a comfortable position. The score comes from an overthrown lineout as skipper Fogarty fails to find Keogh but the ball is plucked out of the air by O'Connor and he muscles past McKeen and Colin Yukes, showing great footwork, to cross the whitewash. 29-20 to Ireland 'A'. Declan Fitzpatrick is on the field, replacing Ross in the front row.
55 mins: IRELAND 'A' TRY! Great reply from Ireland - straight from the restart, the ball is wrestled into green hands and a neat kick through from the elert Staunton sees replacement Hearty win the race for the touchdown just ahead of Van Camp. TMO Tony Spreadbury confirms the try which Staunton narrowly fails to convert.
53 mins: CANADA TRY! That try does come - the lively Pritchard puts his fellow winger Dean Van Camp over in the left corner with a slick pass. Pritchard also converts to put the Canucks into a 20-17 lead.
53 mins: Only a knock on keeps Pritchard from scoring Canada's second try. Ireland need to up the tempo and quickly. Canada are having a purple patch and look like getting over for another try.
48 mins: Ireland certainly have a game on their hands now. Disappointingly, Sexton is limping off the field to be replaced by John Hearty, while lock Farley needs some stitches so his Connacht team-mate David Gannon comes into the fray.
44 mins: CANADA TRY! Disaster for Ireland 'A' as from a position of attack they leak a try. Canadian full-back Mike Pyke picked up a loose ball and ran it back with intent out of his 22. He made considerable ground before captain Morgan Williams carried on and eventually centre Craig Culpan danced over, past a last-gasp tackle from Staunton, for an excellent try. Pritchard added the easy conversion from in front of the posts.
Second Half: Kick-Off: Pritchard restarts for Canada. No changes on either side. The Irish look lively as they string a number of passes together, through backs and forwards.
Half-time - IRELAND 'A' 17 CANADA 6
38 mins: The floodlights are on at Sandy Park. Instead of a lineout, Ireland opt for a scrum close to the Canadian line but the Canucks defend well and see out the half with an 11-point deficit.
35 mins: CANADA PENALTY! Pritchard, with a stabbed kick, lands his second penalty to double Canada's tally. The fit-again Johnny O'Connor, who has been throwing his weight around at ruck time, was penalised for an offside. Ireland, with number eight Wilson particularly prominent in the loose, are ending the half on the attack.
29 mins: IRELAND 'A' TRY! A third try for Ireland 'A' and another debutant at this level gets off the mark - this time it is Munster winger Earls. Great break from Keane, who was just hauled down ten metres short of the line, in the build-up. Ireland kept the foot on the pedal, pressed out wide on the left and a lovely flat pass from Staunton sent Earls cantering in for a well-worked try. Ireland showing good patience when they are in the Canucks' 22. Staunton breaks his duck with the conversion. 17-3 to Ireland 'A'.
23 mins: IRELAND 'A' TRY! A decent spell of pressure for the Irish, despite a lineout loss close to the Canadian try line, results in Ireland's second try and it's an Ulster double as debutant centre Darren Cave darts over in the right corner after a lovely midfield break.
A midfield lineout move which saw Roger Wilson steam up onto the ball at a great angle got Ireland up close to the Canadian 22. Staunton kicked a penalty to touch and although the lineout was lost, some quick thinking from McKenzie, who took a quick lineout after Canada had cleared, saw Ireland relaunch an attack.
Keane made ground and Sexton sent a great pass out for Cave to step past the tackle of Stan McKeen and made a 20-metre dart to the line. Staunton failed to add the extras.
18 mins: Pressure on the Irish backs as numbers out wide almost sees Pritchard get over in the right corner for a try.
16 mins: CANADA PENALTY! Pritchard regains his kicking poise to pop over his second penalty attempt from 47 metres out.
13 mins: Andrew Farley does well to regain possession from the restart and debutant Keith Earls finds a good touch, gaining 40 metres with his kick.
12 mins: IRELAND 'A' TRY! From the resulting lineout, five metres out, the Irish pack rumbles forward with Mike Ross putting in some good driving work. Young Ulster lock Ryan Caldwell is credited with the try as the Irish maul plunges over the line, to the right of the posts. Staunton misses the conversion attempt.
10 mins: Well-struck kick downfield from Paul McKenzie puts Ireland on the front foot and Pritchard dithers with his clearance. He falls to find touch and the Irish regather possession. A midfield ruck is set up and scrum half Chris Keane brilliantly snipes through, offloading to the supporting Fogarty. Canada infringe and Staunton kicks to touch.
8 mins: Ireland are whistled up for not releasing at a ruck and James Pritchard has his first sight of goal, but the Canadian winger pushes his kick wide of the posts from 35 metres out.
4 mins: Staunton hits the penalty well, from just inside the Canadian half from a central position, but the ball strikes the crossbar and the Canucks clear. Plenty of early ball for full-back Johnny Sexton who is bundled into touch but moments later sends an excellent touch-finder spiralling down the right flank for a sizeable gain in territory.
3 minutes: Better stuff from the Irish. A strong scrum drive puts an all-amateur Canadian front row under pressure. Turnover ball and referee Andrew Small pings a player from not rolling away in the tackle. Penalty Ireland and it is kickable.
First Half: Kick-Off: The game starts six minutes later than billed, the anthems were well received by a crowd boosted by a number of Irish ex-pats and schoolkids. Jeremy Staunton gets the game underway. Not a notable start for Ireland 'A' captain John Fogarty whose first lineout throw is deemed not straight. A 'dust up' follows as Stephen Keogh and Dean Van Camp gets to grips with each other early on.
Pre-Match: Hello and welcome to Sandy Park in Exeter for IrishRugby.ie's coverage of tonight's Churchill Cup clash between Ireland 'A' and Canada. Sit tight for what is sure to be a lively encounter with the Canadians looking to impress ahead of the World Cup, and a number of young players in the Irish side, including Under-20 backs Darren Cave and Keith Earls, also hoping to catch the eye.
There are eight European-based players in the Canadian starting line-up, with two players familiar to the Irish provinces - Glasgow's Kevin Tkachuk and Ed Fairhurst of Cardiff - listed amongst the replacements. Conditions are bright and sunny in Exeter, but there is a fresh wind.
An Ireland 'A' side including the Easterby brothers, Simon and Guy, beat Canada 26-10 at Ravenhill in 1997.
IRELAND 'A': Johnny Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster); Paul McKenzie (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Seamus Mallon (Northampton Saints), Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster); Jeremy Staunton (London Wasps), Chris Keane (Buccaneers/Connacht); Ray Hogan (Galwegians/Connacht), John Fogarty (Buccaneers/Connacht) (capt), Michael Ross (NEC Harlequins), Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon/Ulster), Andrew Farley (Buccaneers/Connacht), Stephen Keogh (Shannon/Leinster), Johnny O'Connor (London Wasps), Roger Wilson (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Shannon/Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), David Gannon (Buccaneers/Connacht), John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht), Kieran Campbell (Dungannon/Ulster), John Hearty (Galwegians/Connacht), Fergus McFadden (UCD/Leinster).
CANADA: Mike Pyke (Montauban); James Pritchard (Bedford), Craig Culpan (Meraloma), David Spicer (University of Victoria), Dean Van Camp (Aurora Barbarians); Ryan Smith (Montauban), Morgan Williams (Albi) (capt); Dan Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), Pat Riordan (Burnaby Lake), Scott Franklin (Castaway Wanderers), Josh Jackson (Stade Bordelaise), Mike Burak (Pau), Colin Yukes (Agen), Nanyak Dala (Wild Oaks), Stan McKeen (Cornish Pirates).
Replacements: Aaron Carpenter (Brantford), Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors), Mike Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), Adam Kleeburger (University of Victoria), David Biddle (Meraloma), Ed Fairhurst (Cardiff Blues), Derek Daypuck (Castaway Wanderers).
Referee: Andrew Small (England)