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Ireland Player Ratings: The Incredible Heart-Stopping Victory Over South Africa

Ireland Player Ratings: The Incredible Heart-Stopping Victory Over South Africa
By Conor O'Leary
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Ireland were up against it in South Africa. Having never beaten the South Africans outside of Ireland, having Stander sent off in the first half shook them, and things were bad when Henshaw was yellow carded too.

15. Jared Payne 9

If Joe Schmidt plays Payne anywhere other than fullback from now on his head needs to be checked. We saw the full Payne today - gliding into space, and giving the solidity in the air that's so vital. Four offloads, three defenders beaten, and a linebreak. More of that please.

14. Andrew Trimble 8

That's what Schmidt wants from his wingers, and it's hard not to see why. Ireland played with more width in attack, and Trimble was allowed to make more carries.

13. Robbie Henshaw 6

The yellow card was completely deserved. Not the greatest outing from Henshaw.

12. Luke Marshall 8

A brilliant return to international rugby. Marshall stepped in and helped Jackson control things. Stepped into first receiver when needed, made intelligent kicks - and created Payne's try.

11. Keith Earls 8

A very lively outing. Looked very dangerous with ball in hand, cutting through South African defenders.

10. Paddy Jackson 8.5

It was going so well for Jackson before that killer intercept try.


9. Conor Murray 8

As bad as Murray was in the first half - making at least four big errors, he more than made up for that in the second half. Played much better and grew into the game when Ireland needed him. Vital turnover at the end.

1. Jack McGrath 7.5

Gave Malherbe a tough time in the scrum, but the problems were on the other side.

2. Rory Best 8

Back to form for Rory Best. More talkative, especially with the ref, and looked good in the loose. That's more like it.


3. Mike Ross 6


Not the best game for Rossy. Then again, not many props do against the Beast.

4. Iain Henderson 8

What a rip that man made. Henderson put himself about and was more effective in defense. Turning ball over, making choke tackles. Henderson is the hero Ireland needed. 14 tackles with none missed is massive.

5. Devin Toner 7.5

When someone outjumps Devin Toner at the lineout, you know his effectiveness is limited. He gave it everything. Made some errors at the lineout, but had one crucial steal when things looked like they could have slipped away.


6. CJ Stander 6

It was never a red card. Stander never had the chance to stamp his mark on the game.

7. Jordi Murphy 8

Ireland won't have won without Murphy. He was heroic, shadowing Francois Louw, and hounding Faf de Klerk. Murphy allowed the others to play, and that was key.

8. Jamie Heaslip 8

Heaslip wasn't said much, but his stats do. Nine big tackles - missing none with three lineout takes.



16. Sean Cronin n/a

Not on long enough to rate

18. Tadhg Furlong 8

Comes on and wins a scrum penalty with his first involvement. Deserves all the pints.

19. Ultan Dillane 7

What won't that man do. Tell him to run fast into big South Africans, and he does it. Better than anyone else


20. Rhys Ruddock n/a

23. Craig Gilroy n/a

Token cap with three minutes left.

See Also: Ireland U20 Player Ratings: Heroic Performances In Historic Win

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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