Ireland begin World Cup campaign with convincing win against Scotland in Japan
IT was a good morning for rugby fans across Ireland yesterday as the team began their world cup campaign with a convincing win against Scotland in Japan.
The 27-3 victory saw Rory Best, James Ryan, Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Conway all cross the line in Yokohama in a convincing performance.
Ireland captain Best, in his last tournament, said: "I think we started really well. We were positive, we wanted to attack.
"We're under no illusions. That was a good start for us but we know, and the management will show us probably tomorrow, how much we need to improve going forward."
The team were led out onto the field by both the Irish tricolour and the Ulster provincial flag, before standing to the strains of Ireland's Call.
The presence of the two flags sparked some debate on social media, although they have both been used at previous world cups.
One man said: "Amazed the IRFU have gone with two flags representing Ireland in the Rugby World Cup. One team would better have been represented by one unified flag - either the IRFU's own badge (like Irish cricket does) - or the combined four provinces' flag".
Another social media user said: "I have no idea what the thinking is behind the two flags for Ireland but for me it politicises rugby in Ireland - or at least gives an opportunity for people to politicise it".
However, all was forgotten by the time Ireland surged into an early lead in the opening match, as the world's number one ranked side made a promising start in their bid to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the world cup for the first time in eight attempts.