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Ireland Player Ratings: Ireland Cut Loose In Opening World Cup Game

Ireland Player Ratings: Ireland Cut Loose In Opening World Cup Game
By Conor O'Leary
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That was the Ireland we remember. It was a confidence building game, and Ireland did what they needed to. It's fairly safe to say that this will not be a repeat of 2007, and there were some stand-outs for Ireland. Seven tries is exactly what the doctor ordered, but no one will be pleased at conceding any points.

Here are the best of the Irish players in their opening game with a 50-7 victory.

15. Rob Kearney 8.5

Rob Kearney looks very confident. He got on the ball a lot in the first half, and was soaring to claim ball in the air. He got better as the game went on, and his last ditch tackling was important. A deserved try.

14. Dave Kearney 8

Continuing on from his warm-up form. Finished his try extremely well and looks very confident.

13. Jared Payne 8

Payne oozes class, and he seemed to be gliding across the pitch with ball in hand, giving space to those outside him. Just missing a linebreak himself, but he looks the part these days. His mistake for Canada's try the only blot.

12. Luke Fitzgerald 8.5


Just like his centre partner, it was more about creating space for others, but took some opportunities himself. It was his break that lead to

11. Keith Earls 7.5

Not a poor performance by any means, but of all the backs he didn't step up like the rest of them. He did bump off the Canadian 15 which was noteworthy, but one bad knock on in the second half with an overlap begging can't be overlooked. Gets a huge boost for that pass for Kea

10. Johnny Sexton 9

Here's Johnny. He looks like he's got his confidence back, and he hasn't run as fast as he did for his try ever. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that he was taken off unscathed.

9. Conor Murray 8

When Murray's box kicking continually has Irish players underneath it, you know he's in form. With Sexton in this form, he wasn't asked to create a huge amount, but he did exactly what was necessary. Good to see him kicking this well.

1. Jack McGrath 7.5

He just looks better and better at this level. We know he's solid in the scrum, and even though he dominated the Canadian pack, that was to be expected. His work rate is fantastic, and he's adding effectiveness around the park to his CV. Seven tackles represents a good outing in sixty minutes.

2. Rory Best 7.5


This is the form we want from Best. One of Ireland's most important players had one turnover, an offload and worked hard around the park. that's what you want from a hooker.

3. Mike Ross 7

Ireland had a dominant scrum, Ross made some carries that made some yards, and he had seven tackles. Ross can be pleased. Romania will provide a tougher challenge.

4. Iain Henderson 9


What a beast. Not only was he devastating in the loose, running through Canada, but he also made ten tackles in defense. Putting in a strong case to be in the first choice XV.

5. Paul O'Connell 8

He was everywhere. The sinbin spoils it a bit, but from the smashed tackle on the Canadian beard to his six other tackles, O'Connellis approaching good form.

6. Peter O'Mahony 7



Not his usual dominance at the breakdown, but five defenders beaten and seven tackles made is a nice run out.

7. Sean O'Brien 7.5

The awareness to give that inside pass to O'Brien was something else, and with eight tackles and a turnover he did very well. Not as prominent in the loose, but he didn't need to be.

8. Jamie Heaslip 7

His control at the base of a dominant scrum is impressive, but I can't help but think that he could have scored himself instead of Henderson had he had more patience. Did well to make a nice break in the second half, but could have passed to Murray ahead.


16. Sean Cronin 7

This game was tailor-made for Cronin. He probably should have had more than 20 minutes. He's so devastating in the loose, and it showed. It's quite shocking that he scored just his third try.

17. Cian Healy 7

Healy looked like he had been straining at the leash for the last few months. Very eager to make up for lost time, and he'll need to be to replace the impressive Jack McGrath.

18. Nathan White 6

A tighthead who only plays 20 minutes can't really be judged. Three tackles in that time is a good return, but tougher tests await. He looks like he's an able replacement for Ross if needed. No one should overly worry should the Cork man goes down.

19. Donnacha Ryan 6

Not on a long time, and the game was very scrappy at this stage.

20. Chris Henry 6

Little opportunity, but carried well in his short time. Should expect a bigger role against Romania.

21. Eoin Reddan 6

It wasn't the typical noticeable increase in tempo when Reddan came on, but it didn't need to be.

22. Ian Madigan 6.5

The postivies include that brilliant break for Payne's try, but there were a few negatives - including an over hit cross kick and some poor long range passing over the head.

23. Simon Zebo -

To be honest, I was shocked to see Zebo on the pitch for Payne's try, and I didn't see a huge amount of him. The openness of the game should have suited him but he had no carries, no tackles and no stats

See Also: Keith Earls Minces Canadian Full Back Matt Evans In Collision
See Also: Sexton Has Never Run As Fast As This

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