Ireland have broadcast their Rugby World Cup aspirations, running in four unanswered tries to take a bonus point during an emphatic 27-3 win over Scotland in their opening match of RWC 2019.
Ireland shrugged off predictions of a tight contest by making a fast and furious start in the Pool A match, which was held in rainy conditions at International Stadium Yokohama on Sunday, serving up three tries in the first 25 minutes to the delight of a vocal crowd.
Their first try came in just the seventh minute, from second-rower James Ryan, who pushed over the line through a determined Scotland defence. Johnny Sexton made it 7-0 with the conversion.
The second emerged from a rolling maul as Ireland captain Rory Best put the ball over the line in the 13th minute. Scotland's only points came from a penalty off the boot of Greig Laidlaw soon after.
The unrelenting Irish attack pushed Scotland deep into their own territory and was again rewarded in the 26th minute as Tadhg Furlong pushed over. Conor Murray took the conversion to extend the lead to 16 points.
Scotland was unable to make much of improved possession after the half-time break. Despite occasional displays of flair from Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw, Scotland was kept on the back foot throughout, unable to come up with an answer to the gap Ireland established early.
Ireland winger Andrew Conway scored the fourth to put the result beyond doubt 55 minutes in. Ireland's final points came from a Jack Carty penalty 12 minutes from full-time.
The Scots were forced to attempt their comeback without starting flanker Hamish Watson, who was stretchered off an injury to his left leg late in the half, after topping the tackle count for the team until that point.
Ireland replacement Tadhg Beirne was shown a yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes for a ruck infringement, leaving them a man short for the final minutes of the match, but not affecting the outcome. Ireland number eight CJ Stander was named player of the match.
Ireland came into the tournament ranked World No.1, Scotland seventh. Ireland has won seven of the last eight matches between the two teams. Scotland emerged the victor from their only previous World Cup encounter, at Murrayfield way back in 1991.
-Report from Rugby World Cup site