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Rugby World Cup Pool D: Ireland set for high-scoring Canada clash

Back-to-back Six Nations champions Ireland open Pool D of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Canada, and Coral make Joe Schmidt’s side 15/2 chances to follow up and go all the way.

Irish rugby has once again been put on the map by New Zealander coach Schmidt, winning an impressive 75 per cent of his 24 internationals in charge. With Six Nations foes France and Italy facing off against one another and the Gaelic team unbeaten against them under current management, the Emerald Isle outfit should definitely finish top of their group.

Older punters may recall Canada making the quarter-finals back in 1991, but they won just twice in the last dozen at the Rugby World Cup. Ireland have trounced the Maple Leaf in all three meetings since the 2007 edition of this tournament, explaining the virtually certain odds-on 1/1000 price for another win here.

Rugby Union - Canada Welcome Ceremony - Brangwyn Hall

With a price like that and Canada 66/1 outsiders for the mother of all upsets, the handicap market thus appeals. Give the Irish a deficit of 40 points, and they are much more attractive 10/11 to overturn it. The first scoring play to be a try in their favour, meanwhile, is 11/10 and, with skipper Paul O’Connell organising things, this is a brilliant bet.

Punters who think Schmidt will go easy on the Maple Leaf may want to think again, as fellow no hopers Romania follow before fixtures with Six Nations competitors Italy and France finish off the order of Ireland’s group. A substantial margin of victory for the Irish is thus assured, and the 31-40 points bracket appeals at 11/4.

Versatile Munster man Keith Earls remains a reliable source of Ireland tries, crossing half a dozen times at the 2011 edition, and appeals again to get over first at superb odds of 6/1.

Canada’s complete lack of form coming into what on paper is their toughest assignment in the pool means there is simply no likelihood of the Irish bottling it, and slumping to a repeat of their disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign where they failed to get out of the group.

Coral’s top tip: An Ireland win by 31-40 points at awesome 11/4 odds is your best bet here.