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Ireland Player Ratings: Schmidt Has Some Selection Dilemmas On His Hands

Ireland Player Ratings: Schmidt Has Some Selection Dilemmas On His Hands
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Ireland can be happy with their win, with only the injury to Rob Kearney and the final try to Romania as slight concerns. The competition in the back three has heated up. Here's who played the best in Ireland's 44-10 victory:

15. Simon Zebo 9

What a first half performance. Zebo loves the space he's afforded from full-back, and will always thrive with ball in hand. He claimed the award for the hotly contested best disallowed try of the tournament, and his pass for Keith Earls first try was orgasmic.

14. Tommy Bowe 8

That's more like it Tommy. Not only was his great "adroit" (thank you Gerry Thornley) finish a nice cap to his performance, but his kick chasing and reclaiming puts him back in form. He carried well making a lot of yards with not a lot of ball. Will be much happier with himself.

13. Jared Payne 7

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It was a mixed bag from Payne. There are some things he does very well, but his tendency to kick, and kick badly is affecting his effectiveness. His footwork entering contact is Gordon D'Arcy like, and gets some extra yards. He's in good form, but needs to stop kicking it so badly.

12. Darren Cave 8.5

He wasn't as on song as his last game against Wales, but that was a full month ago. Carried strong and hard, making some nice breaks. He was quietly very effective, especially for the delightful pull back leading to Kearney's try. Grew into the game very well.

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11. Keith Earls 9.5

Earls is a completely different player now to what he was pre-injury. This was his best performance for Ireland, and was at the heart of all of Ireland's positive moves in the first half. His offload for Simon disallowed try was jaw-dropping, and he did the Schmidt favourite of claiming Reddan's box-kicks.

10. Ian Madigan 7.5

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This was exactly the type of game that Madigan thrives in. He allowed the outside backs to thrive, with his sharp passing freeing the two wings. It's a little disappointing that he didn't play at scrumhalf, but he made a big claim to cement his position as Ireland's second flyhalf.

9. Eoin Reddan 7.5

Reddan's service was exactly what was needed today. Quick, sharp and snappy. His kicks were made look very good with Bowe and Earls reclaiming some bombs.

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1. Cian Healy 7.5

Was blowing hard into the second half, but it was important that he got some minutes under his belt. McGrath is still playing in better form, but the fearsome Romanian scrum weren't a problem. He didn't get as much ball in hand, but three turnovers represents a good outing.

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2. Richardt Strauss 7

Overran in support once, and was accurate out of touch. This was his chance to put down a marker ahead of Cronin, and he didn't really do that.

3. Nathan White 7.5

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White held up the scrum impressively, and if he can handle the Romanian scrum, we should be able to trust him against Italy or France. Seven tackles in just under an hour is a big tally too.

4. Donnacha Ryan 8

Carried the ball hard and well in the first half, and looked the more impressive of the two second rows. Ten tackles, ten carries and an offload have him close to Henderson standard, and he's pushing hard for a bench spot.

5. Devin Toner 7.5

Probably not what Toner needed given Henderson's supreme form. He works hard, with 11 tackles topping Ireland's stats.

6. Jordi Murphy 7

Worked  hard on the ground, and had two nice offloads. Not as prominent in the loose as a six could be, but he can be happy enough with his day's work.

7. Chris Henry 8.5

An outstanding shift of work from Henry. The try caps it off nicely, after one clean break, one defender beaten, a turnover and 38 metres. The pick of the backrows.

8. Jamie Heaslip 7.5

Quietly impressive from Heaslip. He showed up well in the loose, more so than usual and was his normal effectiveness.

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin 6

He had enough time to come on and make an impact. You would have expected more from him, but that's only because of the standards that he has set himself.

17. Jack McGrath 6

He had a good 25 minutes under his belt. Like most of the replacements, he didn't give a huge amount individually, but the freshness prompted a avalanche of tries.

18. Tadhg Furlong 6

His stats feature one pass, and one tackle. In a game were Ireland's passing was so crisp, there weren't many scrums to get Furlong into it.

19. Paul O'Connell 7

Ireland's effectiveness improved as soon as O'Connell came on. He may not have done anything in particular, but the effect he has on the team is remarkable.

20. Sean O'Brien 6

He didn't have the impact you'd expect O'Brien to make off the bench, but it wasn't needed.

21. Conor Murray 7

Put out on the wing, but looked like a natural. Made one nice steal at the breakdown. Still not as good as Wales' sub scrumhalf but it was a high standard.

22. Paddy Jackson 7

Combined well with Madigan to create some Irish tries. We could see more of the pair of them at 10-12 in the future, but he wasn't as good as Madigan today.

23. Rob Kearney 7

That's quite an impact. Come on, score a try, and get taken off through injury. Clinical.

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