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How Did They Go? Ireland Player Ratings v France

How Did They Go? Ireland Player Ratings v France
By Conor O'Leary
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It was a lot closer than it should have been, but in the end Ireland's grand slam dream is still alive with bigger and tougher tests ahead. What is notable is that Ireland have beaten both of their World Cup pool rivals with plenty left to spare.

Enough about the World Cup, and it's time to digest how the players went today.

Ireland's Player Ratings v France:

15. Rob Kearney 6

Didn't get a huge amount of ball, and when he ran back in the first half he was turned over badly once.

14. Tommy Bowe 7

Bowe does a lot better when the ball comes his way, and he was prominent in the first half and contributed to a dominant Irish period. Faded in the second as France turned the tide.

13. Jared Payne 6.5

11 tackles is a good return. Third workmanlike performance in his third international appearance. He can cope in this environment but we'd like to see the magic that he shows for Ulster.

12. Robbie Henshaw 8

Was outstanding in the first half, shutting down Fofana twice early on, and marshalled him extremely well. Led the team with 15 tackles from the centre in a marvellous defensive performance.

11. Simon Zebo 7.5


Zebo was the focal point of most of the best Irish play again, and Ireland look the most dangerous when he comes in off the wing.

10. Johnny Sexton 8.5

Johnny's back. Cool, calm and composed.  He looked like he was never away, as he marshalled the game superbly and was the clear man of the match.

9. Conor Murray 7

Not as in control as last week, but he didn't need to be without his halfback partner. His kicking in the first half was very very good.

1. Jack McGrath 5.5

Possibly his worst international performance. Had a tough time at the scrum, and didn't clear out rucks effectively. He's much better than he showed today. Nine tackles with none missed was positive

2. Rory Best 5

Best's throwing has moments where it's brilliant, and games were it isn't. This was the latter, and his yellow card was stupid and could have been costly.

3. Mike Ross 5

Eddy Ben Arous gave Ross a torrid time in the scrum, which is the reason he's in the team.

4. Devin Toner 7

Another big performance from Toner. He leads the team in maul turnovers created, and is peerless at the lineout.

5. Paul O'Connell 8

Paulie's back. This was a majestic performance from O'Connell in the first half. Faded a bit in the second, but it's great to see him influence a game like this. 14 tackles was only bettered by Henshaw.

6. Peter O'Mahony 7

Made one vital steal from a maul, and made the right choice by kicking in the 22 if the execution wasn't exactly ideal. France dominated the breakdown which hinders his effectiveness.

7. Sean O'Brien 7

For O'Brien to still be flying into tackles with fifteen minutes to go and last the distance speaks volumes. It's great to have him back.

8. Jamie Heaslip 6.5



Eight tackles with none missed, and nine carries show that Heaslip kept himself busy. The panic that Ireland had against Italy last week wasn't there, showing his value.

16. Sean Cronin 5.5

Not on long time but made improvements in the lineout, but missed two tackles.

17. Cian Healy 6

Looked eager on his return and full of energy. Needs gametime next week for Leinster.

18. Marty Moore 6

Had similar trouble in the scrum as Ross, but managed five tackles in his short time on the pitch.

19. Iain Henderson  6.5

Henderson was one of the few that looked like he could turn the French over at breakdown time. Big impact every time he comes on.

20. Jordi Murphy 6.5

Five tackles when he came on, and slowed down some French ball. Suited to this level.

21. Isaac Boss -

Didn't get on

22. Ian Madigan 6

Did well while Sexton was off the pitch attending to a blood injury, and things seemed to go badly when he came off. Nailed a vital penalty.

23. Felix Jones -

Didn't get on.

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