Ireland brush aside Scots, England soar
Three push-over tries in the first half did the damage before wing Andrew Conway grabbed a fourth after the break to secure a bonus-point win, with games to come against Japan, Russia and Samoa in Pool A.
“We started really well — we were positive, we wanted to attack,” said Ireland captain Rory Best.
“Obviously with the conditions in the second half it became a bit more of an arm-wrestle but we know how good a team they are and we’re delighted with that win.”
With a sea of green-clad Ireland supporters dominating the stands at a packed but wet International Stadium Yokohama, Ireland were in no mood to be nice to their Six Nations rivals.
In a brutally physical game, in which the medics were rushed off their feet, Ireland bossed the breakdown and held a commanding 19-3 lead at half-time.
As the rain’s intensity increased in the second half it was Ireland who relished the deteriorating weather most with a further eight points.
Conor Murray was given a dream ride behind a rampant forward pack, directing traffic with aplomb, particularly with an on-target kicking game, and pre-match concerns about Ireland’s injury-hit backline quickly evaporated.
Scotland, meanwhile, did not help themselves with a weak defensive effort while being unable to penetrate the green wall in front of them.
The bonus-point win put Ireland level with hosts Japan with their first-round victories in Pool A, and the two go head-to-head next weekend.
James Ryan, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong and Conway scored for Ireland with Johnny Sexton and Murray landing a conversion each and Jack Carty kicked a penalty.
Manu Tuilagi scored two tries as England launched their bid for a second Rugby World Cup title with a comfortable but error-strewn 35-3 bonus-point win over Tonga.
The Samoa-born centre crossed twice under the Sapporo Dome roof in a first half that ended with England well ahead at 18-3. -AFP