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Craig Gilroy scored a hat-trick as an Ireland XV beat Fiji 53-0
Craig Gilroy helped himself to a hat-trick as an Ireland XV scored eight tries in a 53-0 romp over Fiji at Thomond Park.
Gilroy capped an excellent outing with an 80-metre breakaway try to secure his treble, while Fergus McFadden also crossed twice.
Ireland took an early lead when referee Leighton Hodges penalised the Fijians for going offside, Paddy Jackson slotting the sixth-minute penalty over.
Three minutes later and the home crowd were celebrating the first try of the night as Luke Marshall did well to draw in two covering defenders before slipping Ulster team-mate Gilroy in for a try in the right-hand corner.
Marshall and Darren Cave were involved in the build-up for a McFadden try that was confirmed by the video referee. Sean Cronin was the next to power over after he was teed up for a charge by Conor Murray.
Cave feigned a pass to Gilroy and jinked inside Leone Nakarawa before riding a challenge and stretching to score a fine try and leave the score at 29-0 at the break.
The points continued to flow early in the second half as Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip took a reverse pass from Jackson and drove forward. He held off Malakai Ravulo before flicking a pass out to McFadden, who did enough to touch down for his second try.
Timoci Matanavou was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tip-tackle on Murray and Chris Henry followed him after 64 minutes as Hodges penalised the flanker for illegally entering a ruck. The flurry of yellows continued three minutes later when Talemaitoga Tuapati was binned for a late hit on Gilroy.
A game of rugby once again broke out after the disruptions and Jackson did well to ride a tackle and find the charging Simon Zebo. The replacement full-back found Gilroy who dived over in the left corner to make it 41-0.
Gilroy claimed his hat-trick with a stunning break from deep inside his own 22 as he evaded Niki Goneva and Matanavou before sprinting free and diving under the posts. Marshall rounded out the scoring on 79 minutes after fine play from Henderson.