Player ratings: Ireland back-row shines

Date published: November 18 2018

Here’s our Ireland player ratings following their 16-9 victory over New Zealand in Dublin.

15 Rob Kearney: Came close to scoring what would have been a fortuitous try in the first-half and brought solidity at the back, which was always going to be crucial against the All Blacks. 7/10

14 Keith Earls: A livewire in possession, notably in the first-half, and that gets him out of bother regularly. This game was no different as the Munster wing was flawless under the utmost pressure. 7/10

13 Garry Ringrose: Oozes quality when he runs with the ball but against one of the best young defenders in the game, Jack Goodhue, he found line breaks tough to come by. 6/10

12 Bundee Aki: So much emotion for Aki as the former Chief faced off with several familiar faces. Did his job though as he showed no respect for his body and will be delighted with his 18 carries. 8/10

11 Jacob Stockdale: Busy and hungry in all that he did. One of several young players who have slotted into this Ireland team like veterans in the past year or so. One lucky moment when his charged-down kick came to nothing but made amends with a fine individual try. 8/10

10 Jonathan Sexton: The epitome of passion as he marshalled his troops and showed how vital he is to Ireland in such high pressure matches. 9/10

9 Kieran Marmion: There was some debate over whether Marmion or Luke McGrath should have started this game but the former was cool, calm and collected in a solid showing. 7/10

8 CJ Stander: Was fired up and eager for work which is always bad news for opposition defences. Stander deserves a couple of days off after this shift. A whopping 23 carries from the number eight. 9/10

7 Josh van der Flier: A tackling machine. Van der Flier was a late arrival in the side due to Dan Leavy being ruled out and his work in defence was outstanding. He also made inroads on attack in an impressive showing. 9/10

6 Peter O’Mahony: A rock at the breakdown in defence throughout and crucially grabbed the ball out of Ben Smith’s hands when a try seemed on the cards. Such a warrior. 9/10

5 James Ryan: Was tireless as a carrier and often caused New Zealand problems in open play. Another step in the right direction. 8/10

4 Devin Toner: His inclusion paid off as his work at the line-out and in defence earns plenty of plaudits. It says something when Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick don’t stand out and that’s credit to Toner and Ryan. 7/10

3 Tadhg Furlong: Got the better of Karl Tu’inukuafe at the set-piece and was a force with ball in hand, as is his wont. 11 carries from the formidable tighthead. 8/10

2 Rory Best (c): Will be pleased with his efforts as he led this Irish team to a memorable win. The set-piece was solid while he was on the field and he was a nuisance at the breakdown. 8/10

1 Cian Healy: Emptied the tank for 50 minutes before giving way to Jack McGrath. Healy has worked his way back as Ireland’s first-choice loosehead and was full value for the start again with a workmanlike shift. 8/10


16 Sean Cronin: Had a tough final 15 minutes at the line-out as his throws were picked off. 4/10

17 Jack McGrath: What a luxury to be able to bring on a loosehead prop of this talent. Another impressive showing. 7/10

18 Andrew Porter: Plenty of defending to do in the closing stages. 5/10

19 Iain Henderson: Like Cronin, struggled against the competing All Black line-out in the closing stages. 4/10

20 Jordi Murphy: Like most of his replacements, it was a case of putting in a shift on defence. 5/10

21 Luke McGrath: Known for his sniping, it was his defence that stood out, making 10 tackles in the closing stages. 6/10

22 Joey Carbery: Not on long enough.

23 Jordan Larmour: Not on long enough.