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Canada 6-25 Ireland

Canada (3) 6
Pens: Pritchard 2
Ireland (7) 25
Tries: Murphy, Whitten, Buckley Cons: Keatley 2 Pens: Keatley 2

By Alvin McCaig

Canada's Kevin Tkachuk is fended off by Irish opponent Tony Buckley
Canada's Kevin Tkachuk is fended off by Irish opponent Tony Buckley

Ireland failed to impress despite a comfortable victory in their tour opener in sunny Vancouver on Saturday.

Darren Cave's chip put Barry Murphy through for the only try of an error-strewn first half.

Ireland led 7-3 at the break but James Pritchard fired over his second penalty as the Canadians targeted an upset.

The tourists finally found some rhythm and surged clear with Ian Keatley's penalty followed by tries from debutant Ian Whitten and Tony Buckley.

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It was not surprising that Ireland, with six debutants and minus its Lions and Leinster's Heineken Cup winning players, would lack cohesion and fluency.

A disjointed first half had few highlights as both teams were guilty of turnovers and poor handling.

Keatley was one of the debut boys and the Connacht fly-half started nervously, sending an eighth minute penalty well wide of the posts.

Ireland produced a rare move of class on 18 minutes with Cave's clever chip into space giving Murphy the simple task of going over for the opening try.

Keatley struck over an impressive conversion from the touchline.

Canada rarely threatened but the Canucks narrowed the gap to four points thanks to a Pritchard penalty two minutes before the break.

The hosts upped the pace at the start of the second half and Pritchard's penalty brought them within a point of the Irish.

Ireland finally put a few moves together and Keatley fired over a penalty before Canada hooker Adam Kleeberger was sin-binned on the hour for a professional foul.

Keatley, now kicking with confidence, added the three points from the resulting penalty.

Ireland took advantage of a turnover to score their second converted try after 63 minutes with Cave putting fellow debutant and Ulsterman Whitten clear for an easy run to the corner.

Buckley surged over in the corner from Peter Stringer's pass six minutes later but Keatley was off target with the conversion.

Whitten should have scored a second try with two minutes left but the centre spilled the ball as he sprinted for the line.

Ireland's next game is against the USA on Sunday 31 May.


Canada: Pritchard; van Camp, Hearn, Smith, van der Merwe; Spicer, Fairhurst; Tkachuk, Riordan (capt), Franklin, Hotson, Burak, O'Toole, Kleeberger, Carpenter.
Replacements: Tiedemann, Tait, Sinclair, Dala, Stephen, Mack, Monro.

Ireland: Duffy; B Murphy, Cave, Whitten, Dowling; Keatley, Stringer; Court, R Best (capt), Buckley, Casey, M O'Driscoll, Muldoon, Ronan, Leamy.
Replacements: Cronin, Ross, Caldwell, Ryan, Reddan, O'Connor, Hurley.

Referee: Chris White (England)



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see also
Whitten completes Ireland squad
17 May 09 |  Irish
Wallace ruled out of Ireland tour
13 May 09 |  Irish
Best named Ireland tour captain
11 May 09 |  Irish


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