YOKOHAMA, Japan - Rugby World Cup debutants Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway received praise from head coach Joe Schmidt in the aftermath of Ireland's 27-3 bonus point win over Scotland in rain-hit Yokohama.
The absence of Rob Kearney and Keith Earls, who were both unable to train fully this week, took 170 caps out of Ireland's back-three ranks, but Larmour and Conway proved more than able deputies with the latter crossing for the bonus point score near the hour mark.
Combining with Jacob Stockdale, they also contributed to Ireland holding the Scots try-less, and Schmidt always had confidence that they could curb the threats posed by their opposite numbers, including Stuart Hogg, the two-time Six Nations Player of the Year.
"We hadn't made any decisions earlier in the week so they (Jordan and Andrew) were first-choice selections and they played like that," admitted Schmidt whose side are top of Pool A ahead of next Saturday's clash with tournament hosts Japan in Shizuoka.
"I thought Jordan's energy, Andrew Conway's energy they made a few errors but there were very difficult conditions out there, even prior to the rain. It was a little bit of film on the ball it was quite slippery. So it is going to be one of those challenges if the weather comes in like that."
"Andrew finished his try superbly, Jordan was very good in the air he looked dangerous. He opened them up one time and got in behind them. We probably made 10 line-breaks and Jordan and Andrew were the recipients of a couple of those one for Andrew to score and one for Jordan to open people up."
"He (Larmour) covered the space really well because they're so dangerous on the edges, Scotland, and both of those guys closed those channels down really well. So did Jacob. I thought he was extra good defensively he got Hogg a couple of times when he was sliding wide and it just allowed us to get onto the front foot instead of them getting that space on the edge."
Ireland's strength-in-depth helped them to weather a tricky patch midway through the first half, as Bundee Aki and vice-captain Peter O'Mahony had to be permanently replaced after initially going off for head injury assessments. In addition, Josh van der Flier spent some time off the pitch getting patched up.
It failed to knock Schmidt's charges off their stride as tries from James Ryan, captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong gave them a 19-3 half-time lead.