Ireland: Rory Best says fast start set up World Cup hammering of Scotland

Rory Best scores Ireland's second try in the dominant win over Scotland
Rory Best contorted himself to score Ireland's second try in the dominant win over Scotland

Captain Rory Best was delighted with Ireland's start to the World Cup as a dominant first half set up a 27-3 win over sorry Scotland in Yokohama.

Best, Ireland's oldest ever World Cup participant at 37, scored one of Ireland's four tries as he answered his critics with an all-action display.

"We started really well. We were positive. We wanted to attack," Best told ITV.

"We know how good a team they are and we're delighted with that win."

Best contorted himself to score Ireland's second try after James Ryan's sixth-minute opener and Tadhg Furlong notched the third touchdown before half-time with Andrew Conway adding the bonus-point score in the second half.

"When the conditions came in during the second half it became a bit more of an arm wrestle," added the Ireland captain.

Despite going into the tournament number one in the world rankings, Joe Schmidt's side have struggled in 2019 after a 2018 campaign that saw them clinch the Grand Slam and earn victory over New Zealand in Dublin.

But with a rejuvenated CJ Stander, Iain Henderson, James Ryan and Tadhg Furlong also starring, Ireland's pack laid the foundations for the comprehensive Pool A victory although Best was careful to praise the performances of the backs.

"It was a really good combination [of forwards and backs].

"A couple of the tight tries came from great play from Garry Ringrose and Bundee [Aki], Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway. They were getting us into positions.

"And the way Johnny [Sexton] and Murr [Conor Murray] kicked in the first half, it makes it easier for the pack when you are on the front foot."

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray embrace after Ireland's dominant win over Scotland
Johnny Sexton delegated goal-kicking duties to Conor Murray after 25 minutes

Sexton goal-kicking decision 'super-cautious'

Despite Ireland's impressive display after struggling in 2019, Best insisted that Schmidt's squad will remain grounded for their remaining Pool A games.

"We are under no illusions. That was a good start for us but we know and Joe and Faz [Andy Farrell] and the rest of the management will show us tomorrow how much we need to improve going forward."

Sexton handed goal-kicking duties to scrum-half Murray after Furlong's 25th-minute try but Schmidt insisted the decision had been precautionary and the fly-half was replaced by Jack Carty after 58 minutes.

"He [Sexton] was able to kick, that was us being super-cautious because we got such a good start," Schmidt told RTE Sport.

"We felt we could cover him up a little bit and we got him and Conor off reasonably early."

O'Mahony and Aki replaced following HIAs

Peter O'Mahony and Bundee Aki were forced off following Head Injury Assessments in the first half and, with next Saturday's game against hosts Japan in mind, Schmidt said both will go through return-to-play protocols to assess whether they sustained concession.

"For us, six days is the minimum to turn around after a concussion so we'll just see how they are symptomatically but right here, right now, there is a bit of reassurance around those two."

Like Best, Schmidt was keen to praise Ireland's overall team performance.

"The [pack] were super but I thought there were some good performances from Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Garry Ringrose, their defence was outstanding. Andrew Conway finished off his try well also."