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Ireland U20 Player Ratings: Heroic Performances In Historic Win

Ireland U20 Player Ratings: Heroic Performances In Historic Win
By Conor O'Leary
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No Ireland male team had ever beaten New Zealand at any level. Until today.

The U20s have done what the Irish women have done once, and the senior team have never done. It was a heroic performance from Ireland, and they thoroughly deserved the win. They dominated the entire game and were fully deserving of the win.

At no stage did New Zealand look like winning, but history told us not to believe. It was truly magical. Here's how the heroes played:

15. Jacob Stockdale 7.5

Not as effective as he was against Wales, but a decent display nonetheless. He just plays so intelligently, you forget he's U20. Stockdale's experience shines through at this level - even against New Zealand.

14. Matthew Byrne 7

Carolan has given both of his wings license to roam and look for work, and it's bringing the best out of them. Ireland look better when their back three get on the ball, and Byrne is a big reason for that.

13. Shane Daly 7.5

A huge hit to begin the second half set the tone. It was Roy Keane-esque on Overmars against Holland in 2001. It sent a message that Ireland were in this.

12. Conor O'Brien 7

One poor kick out on the full aside, O'Brien looked very solid. Ran strongly, and his footwork going into contact helps get Ireland over the gainline. That's Joe Schmidt's dream right there.


11. Hugo Keenan 8

A mix of excellence in attack, and naivety in defense. He bit in much too early on Barrett to allow Stevenson the chance to score, but with ball in hand he's more than a handful. Looks for work and is always enterprising.

10. Bill Johnston 9

What a player Johnston is. The U19 Munster star oozes class, and masterfully directed Ireland around the park. He's a huge loss to Ireland with his injury, hopefully it won't be too bad.

9. Stephen Kerins 7.5

Kerins is having an outstanding tournament despite the lack of protection the referees are giving him. His kicking and passing has been great, but he keeps getting hit very late.


1. Andrew Porter 9

Ireland were dominant in the scrums, and a big reason for that was Porter. He seemed to concentrate his efforts for the tight play, and wasn't as effective in the loose as he was against Wales. He's an absolute monster.

2. Adam McBurney 8


A mixed bag. He was unlucky to be binned, but he fixed his throwing from the first game. The power he showed for his try was a sight to behold.

3. Ben Betts 8

For Ireland's third choice tighthead to be as dominant in the scrum is quite a statement. His scrum technique is perfect, and he is the future cornerstone of the Munster scrum.


4. Cillian Gallagher 7

His defensive work to keep rushing up fast is a big reason why Ireland had most of the play. He's better as a blindside though.

5. James Ryan 7.5

The play of everyone else in green means he isn't the standout he was in the Six Nations. That doesn't mean he isn't playing great - he's leading from the front with his ferocious defense. He's ready for the Leinster senior team.

6. Greg Jones 7

He scored the try that got Ireland motoring, gave them belief. Jones was all over the park.


7. David Aspil 7

When Ireland needed a turnover he was there. Big big game.

8. Max Deegan 8

What a defensive showing. Deegan was everywhere at the end. Throwing himself about. He backed up his man of the match display against Wales with another big game.


16. Vincent O'Brien 7

He was on for the seven man maul to get Ireland into it and give them belief.


18. Vakh Abdaladze 8

A loosehead playing on the tighthead side who wins penalties against New Zealand played well. Huge game.

20. Kelvin Brown 8

Brown is a beast. The Munster backrower is just fantastic off the bench, and probably deserves to be starting.

22. Johnny McPhillips 7

That was McPhillips best performance for Ireland by a mile. Ireland could have cowered after Johnston's loss, but McPhillips stood up and finished the job. That last penalty sealed the deal


23. Jimmy O'Brien 7

O'Brien wasn't on long, but put in the tackles that he needed. Big result.

See Also: Watch: The Incredibly Harsh Yellow Card Against Ireland In The U20s

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