Rugby Union: Makeshift Ireland back on course

Ireland 33 Canada 11
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The Independent Online
After a hammering at the hands of the All Blacks two weeks ago Ireland scored five tries to beat a determined but limited Canadian side at Lansdowne Road yesterday.

Ireland's makeshift team, deprived of Lions forwards Eric Miller, Keith Wood and Jeremy Davidson among others, got off to an upbeat start, taking the game to their visitors and went ahead in the fourth minute with full- back Kevin Nowlan running over for the opening try, his first for his country in his second appearance.

Eric Elwood missed the conversion and a penalty three minutes later and instead of opening up a healthy 10-point lead Ireland allowed Canada to get back into contention at 5-3 with a penalty from the Canadian captain and outside-half Gareth Rees.

Elwood did succeed after 12 minutes but his penalty was matched by Rees soon after.

Nick Popplewell, captaining Ireland in the absence of Wood, and David Erskine, tried and failed to breach the Canadian line before Conor McGuinness decided to do the job, hurling himself over the line for Ireland's second try. Elwood made no mistake with the conversion as Ireland gained a 15- 6 lead which they took into the half-time break.

Elwood picked up where he left off with a 44th-minute penalty but Canada's veteran hooker Mark Cardinal charged over for the tourists' only try to pull the score back to 18-11.

Ireland then took control and after near scoring attempts from Denis Hickie and Nowlan, Kevin Maggs finally got Ireland's third try on 55 minutes, touching down in the corner after good work from Elwood and Nowlan.

Elwood again missed the conversion but this time Ireland were in the comfort zone and No 8 Victor Costello went over on the hour to seal victory, leaving Nowlan to round off Ireland's day with his second try with six minutes remaining.

Ireland: Tries Nolan 2, McGuinness, Maggs, Costello; Conversion Elwood; Penalties Elwood 2. Canada: Try Cardinal; Penalties Rees 2.

IRELAND: K Nowlan (St Mary's); D Hickie (St Mary's), R Henderson (Wasps), B McCall (London Irish), K Maggs (Bristol); E Elwood (Galwegians), C McGuinness (St Mary's); N Popplewell (Newcastle, capt), R Nesdale (Newcastle), P Wallace (Saracens), P Johns (Saracens), M O'Kelly (London Irish), D Erskine (Sale), V Costello (St Mary's), K Dawson (London Irish). Replacements: J Cunningham (Ballymena), N Hogan (London Irish), D Humphreys (London Irish), R Corrigan (Ballymena), E Halvey (Shannon), A Clarke (Northampton).

CANADA: J Stewart; W Stanley, D Lougheed, R Toews, J Pagano; G Rees (capt), J Gaff; R Snow, M Cardinal, R Bice, J Tait, M James, M Schmid, A Charron, J Hutchinson. Replacements: B Ross, R Card, A Healy, C MacKenzie, E Evans, K Morgan.

Referee: C Giacomel (Italy).