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Kidney Takes Positives From Winning Start

Kidney Takes Positives From Winning Start

Ireland battled their way to a 25-6 win over Canada in their summer tour opener in Vancouver, with a two-try salvo in the final quarter putting the game beyond the reach of the home side.

Click here to watch RTE’s full broadcast of Saturday’s Canada v Ireland Test match (coverage available to Ireland viewers only).

A total of eight players made their senior debuts for Ireland in what was the eighth win of Declan Kidney’s nine-match reign.

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Centre Darren Cave, one of the debutants, was involved in two of Ireland’s tries. He chipped a well-weighted kick through for Barry Murphy’s 18th-minute opener.

And delaying his pass, the Under-20 Grand Slam winner gave his Ulster midfield partner Ian Whitten enough space to dive over for a debut second half try.

Ireland’s third and final touchdown came from prop Tony Buckley who dived over in the right corner after a quick ruck release from his Munster team-mate Peter Stringer.

Those scores were the highlights of Ireland’s second meeting with the Canucks in the space of six months.

A mention also has to go to man-of-the-match Ian Keatley who landed some excellent place-kicks from wide out and carried an attacking threat throughout. 

New caps Mike Ross and Ryan Caldwell were sprung from the bench, joining their fellow first-timers Cave, Whitten, Keatley, Ian Dowling, John Muldoon and Niall Ronan.

And although Kidney’s men failed to flourish in attack, they can be pleased with their defensive display as they made it three games on the trot without conceding a try.

At 13-6, DTH van der Merwe made a break through Ireland’s centre that could so easily have led to a Canadian try, but Ireland regrouped well and just seconds later Whitten were over for his try.

Kidney said: “The game probably hinged on that one incident in the second half when Canada were breaking down towards the right corner and our defence managed to hold up, get a bit of a turnover and there was a 14-point swing in the game.

“There was a lot of things in our performance we know we’d like to get better. We were trying things – that’s what pleased me.

“As long as we keep trying things, we will try and work the positive out of that. We didn’t go back into our shells.

“We must give credit to Canada. They are an improving side. They put us under a lot of pressure and retained the ball for long periods of time.”

Tour captain Rory Best also praised the Canadians for making it a difficult day at the office for his side.

“We were under no illusions that it was going to be a tough game. We knew we had to take every chance we had,” he said. 

“It’s very abrasive rugby (here). You certainly know that when you get their defensive line coming at you.”

Ireland head to California for next Sunday’s clash with the Eddie O’Sullivan-coached US Eagles, while Canada will lick their wounds before taking on Wales in Toronto in six days’ time.

Disappointed with the Irish result but happy that his side are going in the right direction, Canadian coach Kieran Crowley said: “We had some good patches but we chucked a few balls away.

“It was a 13-6 game and we gave away a sin-bin and gave away 12 points. You can’t do that at this level.

“There were some good parts. We were positive in a lot of areas. The guys have committed and we are a lot better at things.

“There is improvement going on and we just need to keep building on that.”