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Ireland Player Ratings: Did Anyone Play Well In Ireland's Worst Performance In Schmidt Era

Ireland Player Ratings: Did Anyone Play Well In Ireland's Worst Performance In Schmidt Era
By Conor O'Leary

There were shades of 2007 in Twickenham today, as it was very easy to forget that Ireland are meant to do well in this upcoming World Cup. They were second to the breakdown repeatedly in the first half, and it's fortunate that they were able to

15. Simon Zebo 5

Caught out badly in the air for Watson's try, and his positioning was exposed for May's first aswell. Offered a little in attack, but this wasn't a performance to ring home about. Not the worst player out there by a long shot.

14. Tommy Bowe 2

What a shocker. He was exposed by England twice in the opening five minutes before making Jonny May look like Jonah Lomu by allowing him through for the first try. Spilled high balls, dropped the pill in contact, and had wayward kicks in a largely forgettable performance. We know Tommy Bowe is world class and is much much better than what he showed here. One strong carry from a turnover scrum prevents this being a 1.

13. Jared Payne 6.5

Wasn't the worst performer out there, and consistently made tackles. Wasn't overly strong in the tackle, and while he brought all of his tackles to the ground - it frequently allowed England front foot ball. Grew into the second half, and put Kearney into space a few times.

12. Robbie Henshaw 5

We were reminded by Schmidt this week that Henshaw is originally a full-back, and it showed. His passing wasn't up to scratch, and there were two balls on his favoured side to Dave Kearney either went to ground or forced Kearney to check and the chance was gone.

11. Dave Kearney 9

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The only Ireland player that won't be annoyed at their performance. Kearney was the only bright light for Ireland in the first half, with an impressive work rate, and looked dangerous in attack. Claimed a lot of ball in the air. On this performance he is in the starting XV.

10. Johnny Sexton 6

Some of his kicking was wayward, but he was a big reason for Ireland's improved tempo. Shook off a bit of rust, but needs a lot more when things get serious.

9. Conor Murray 4

Even before his unfortunate head knock which will be concerning - Murray's box kicking was dreadful. The kicks were too long, and the lack of chasing was making Jonny May look like a world beater

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1. Jack McGrath 7

Ireland's one area of strength was in the scrum, and McGrath looked strong with ball in hand. Ireland should be very thankful that we have McGrath when Healy is out.

2. Rory Best 7

Part of a strong scrum, and his clear out made the try for Paul O'Connell with his brilliant clear out.

3. Mike Ross 7

Ireland's scrum got the better of England, and Ross gets credit for that. That he looked the most threatening with ball in hand  in the first half says more about his team mates than it does him.

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4. Devin Toner 6

Will be feeling the heat from Iain Henderson now. Not his most effective performance, and did his bit from out of touch

5. Paul O'Connell 7

Did very well to barrel over for Ireland's try - and got Ireland into it in the second half with some key breakdown work.

6. Peter O'Mahony 5

Guilty of a bit of ruck inspecting, especially after securing already secure rucks. Not his best performance, but will be working back into fitness.

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7. Sean O'Brien 5

As poor as O'Brien was in the first half, there was slight improvement in the second. Ireland's breakdown commitment wasn't good enough, and needing to commit as many as they did to rucks falls on the back row.

8. Jamie Heaslip 7

Quietly went about his business today, showing pace and power at times. A nuisance at the breakdown, but needs to step up and lead to inspire others in games like this.

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Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss 5

His past life as a flanker at the breakdown is a huge asset to Ireland, but didn't get much of an opportunity to impress in a stop start game.

17. Tadhg Furlong 6

Handled the prospect of playing loosehead in the scrums for the last few minutes, but not enough of a sample size to see if the experiment will work.

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18. Nathan White 6

Every bit of exposure to international rugby for White is good, but Ireland will be relying on Ross more than ever.

19. Donnacha Ryan 6

Did very well to tackle the pacey Jonny May after he skinned Heaslip. Looks sharp, and eager to make up for lost time. Injuries meant he was pulled out of position.

20. Chris Henry 5

Not on long enough really.

21. Eoin Reddan 6

A mixed bag from Reddan, who had some bad dropped passes, but upped the tempo after half time to great effect.

22. Ian Madigan 6

Aside from getting smashed by Sam Burgess, Madigan danced his way out of most tackles, and passed well.

23. Darren Cave 6

Probably improved Ireland's midfield when he came on, ran some good hard lines, and defended the hype train that is Sam Burgess well.

See Also: Robbie Henshaw Cops A Shot To The Face From Courtney Lawes After A Very Forward Pass

 

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