Ireland player ratings: Several standout displays but errors prove costly in agonising Rugby World Cup defeat

Colin Newboult
Bundee Aki and Ireland team-mates dejected after losing Rugby World Cup quarter-final to New Zealand.

Bundee Aki and Ireland team-mates dejected after losing Rugby World Cup quarter-final to New Zealand.

Following a heartbreaking 28-24 defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup clash at the Stade de France on Saturday, here are the player ratings for Ireland.

15 Hugo Keenan: Excellent under the high ball and a threat in attack; the full-back was typically impressive. 8

14 Mack Hansen: Some nice runs and played a full part in Ireland’s backline moves until his calf gave way in the second period. His off-load also led to Aaron Smith’s yellow card. 7

13 Garry Ringrose: Linked nicely with Johnny Sexton, firing some superb wide passes out, which got them around New Zealand’s defence on occasions. 7

Magnificent Aki

12 Bundee Aki: Such a shame we won’t be seeing more of the centre in this World Cup, considering his brilliance. Once again, he was utterly magnificent. Arguably the player of the tournament. 9

11 James Lowe: Another performance you can’t fault. More often than not, he caused problems for the All Blacks’ defence and made it over the gain line. 7

10 Johnny Sexton (c): The fly-half’s final game, and he unfortunately just didn’t quite produce his best. His missed penalty was important while there was some odd decision-making, especially that little chip kick through which smacked of panic. 6

9 Jamison Gibson-Park: Lost the kicking battle and, like Sexton, some little errors which halted the momentum at times. Scored a nice try, however, and his service was good, considering the pressure he was under. 6

Back-row workhorses

8 Caelan Doris: We’ll forgive him that one dropped ball, although it was a big moment, as Doris was once again very good. Not quite at his best, but he still put in a big display. 7

7 Josh van der Flier: As ever, put himself about, making 17 tackles, but he also missed three, with one of those leading to Will Jordan’s score. Was otherwise very good. 7

6 Peter O’Mahony: There, in part, to help the lineout, but they struggled in the set-piece. Never took a backwards step in the loose and made himself a nuisance throughout. 6

Set-piece lets Ireland down

5 Iain Henderson: Not the greatest game from the big second-row, and he was replaced by the much more effective Joe McCarthy. 5

4 Tadhg Beirne: Brilliant throughout. Like Aki, so unfortunate to be on the losing side as he was absolutely everywhere. 9

3 Tadhg Furlong: If we’re honest, big Tadhg hasn’t had the greatest year for the national team, and he was unable to impose himself here. Scrum troubles weren’t on his side, but his qualities in both the loose and set-piece were negated by the All Blacks. 5

2 Dan Sheehan: A mixed bag from the hooker, whose throwing was put under pressure, but he did show up well in the loose. Ultimately, however, it is the set-piece which decides the game. 5

1 Andrew Porter: His illegalities at the scrum finally caught up with him as Wayne Barnes continually penalised Porter for not driving straight. However, it was his needless infringement in the opening minute which set the tone. 3

Replacements: They almost turned the tide. McCarthy and Jimmy O’Brien were superb, while Ronan Kelleher and Jack Conan also made impacts. 8

READ MORE: All Blacks knock out Ireland in thrilling Rugby World Cup quarter-final