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Ireland 41-6 Fiji

Ireland (13) 41
Tries: Earls 2, O'Driscoll, Kearney, Horgan Pens: Sexton 2 Cons: Sexton 5

Fiji (3) 6
Pens: Little 2

Brian O'Driscoll

Video - O'Driscoll breaks through against Fiji

By Richard Petrie

Ireland scored five tries as they comprehensively defeated Fiji 41-6 at the Royal Dublin Society.

Keith Earls crossed the line in the first period as the Irish enjoyed a 13-3 advantage at half-time.

Brian O'Driscoll, Earls, Rob Kearney and Shane Horgan added further touchdowns after the interval.

Jonathan Sexton kicked five conversions and two penalties on his first start for the Irish while Nicky Little landed two penalties for the Fijians.

Ireland made eight changes from the team which drew with Australia, while Fiji were missing several first-choice players for the first major international to be played at the RDS.

Sexton knocked over a ninth-minute penalty to register his first full international points in swirling wind and rain.

Five minutes later Ireland threatened to score the opening try of the game when Sexton kicked for Earls to collect the ball on the wing.

The Munster man passed to Kearney, but the full-back's progress was halted by the Fiji defence.

The Irish did cross the Fiji line for the first time in the 18th minute as Jamie Heaslip picked up the ball from the scrum and found Eoin Reddan, who fed Earls to burst through the Fiji rearguard and under the posts to complete a well executed move, converted by Sexton.

Little shaved the post with a long-range penalty but made amends soon after by slotting the ball straight between the posts.

Action from the RDS
Man of the match Jonathan Sexton congratulates Keith Earls

In the final minute of the first half, Sexton ran out of defence and sent O'Driscoll racing clear.

The Lions centre found Gordon D'Arcy but his attempted pass to Horgan only found the hands of Norman Ligairi and a golden opportunity was wasted.

Sexton rounded off an uninspiring first half by kicking his second penalty of the game to give Ireland a 10-point lead.

Four minutes after the break Denis Leamy received lengthy treatment before being stretchered off with a leg injury and Sean O'Brien ran onto the field for his first cap.

Little reduced Fiji's deficit to seven points with a penalty but O'Driscoll gave his side some breathing space with a 49th-minute try, his 38th in an Ireland shirt.

The Leinster centre intercepted Little's attempted pass and juggled the ball before running over to touch down underneath the posts. Sexton again added the two points.

Earls scored his second try of the game after 68 minutes when he ran in at the corner to finish off a fine move involving Sexton, O'Driscoll and D'Arcy.

Sexton slotted over his third conversion and made it four out of four after Kearney slid under the tackles of two Fijian players to score Ireland's fourth try with four minutes of normal time remaining.

Horgan dived over in the corner after good work by replacement Tomas O'Leary and D'Arcy eight minutes into added time and man-of-the-match Sexton converted from a difficult angle to maintain his 100% kicking record.

Ireland now face world champions South Africa at Croke Park next Saturday.

Ireland: R Kearney; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, capt, G D'Arcy, K Earls; J Sexton, E Reddan; T Court, J Flannery, J Hayes, L Cullen, P O'Connell, S Ferris, D Leamy, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin (for Flannery 72), T Buckley (for Hayes 60), D O'Callaghan (for O'Connell 72), S O'Brien (for Leamy 43), T O'Leary (for Reddan 59), P Wallace (for Kearney 74), A Trimble (for O'Driscoll 67).

Fiji: N Ligairi; V Goneva, G Lovobalavu, S Baikeinuku, N Roko; N Little, M Rauluni; A Tarogi, V Veikoso, V Seuseu; W Lewaravu, I Rawaqa; A Satala, A Qera, A Boko. Replacements: I Ledua (for Tarogi 65), G Dewes (for Veikoso 62), L Nakarawa (For Rawaqa 41), S Bola (for Qera 69), W Vatuvoka, J Matavesi, T Nagusa (for Ligairi 52).

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Attendance: 16,500

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see also
Kidney praise for fly-half Sexton
22 Nov 09 |  Irish
Kidney rejigs Ireland line-up
17 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
O'Driscoll backs team-mate Sexton
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Sexton to make debut for Ireland
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Ireland 20-20 Australia
15 Nov 09 |  Irish
O'Driscoll praises Irish attitude
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Ireland v Australia photos
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Ireland v Australia as it happened
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Kidney has faith in his front row
12 Nov 09 |  Irish
Prop Healy wins first Ireland cap
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Hayes ban reduced to five weeks
13 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
England 9-18 Australia
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Horan out of Ireland autumn games
06 Nov 09 |  Irish
Henry called into Ireland squad
27 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union

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