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Player Ratings After Ireland's Disappointing 45-21 U20 World Cup Final Loss

Player Ratings After Ireland's Disappointing 45-21 U20 World Cup Final Loss
By Paul McNulty
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It was a day when there were very few  positives from an Irish perspective. England were dominant from the start and took a 21-0 lead into halftime. From there, Ireland did make a decent fist of it - only losing the second half by 24-21 but that's as good as it got.

At the end of the day, this tournament is about nurturing talent for the senior ranks and in Jacob Stockdale, James Ryan, Max Deegan and Andrew Porter - Ireland have at least four (and probably more) players that can go on to stardom at senior level.

Captain James Ryan said afterwards that "the first half was where we lost it. We were steamrolled. It wasn't good enough today and England were just too good."

Here are our player ratings:

Jacob Stockdale  7

Maybe Ireland's best performer on a disappointing day. Showed what he can do offensively to set up Shane Daly's try with a simply scintillating run. Scored four tries in the tournament and though he didn't add to that tally today; he can be proud of his efforts throughout the tournament. 7

Matthew Byrne  5

Like most of the Ireland backs, didn't really get much of a chance to show his stuff going forward. Will be embarrassed by the time the eight-stone Harry Randall stopped him from offloading when an Irish try looked certain late in the second half. Always brave but caught out on a few occasions by the fleet-footed English attacks.

Shane Daly  6

Never stopped battling and showed his finishing prowess to score Ireland's second try in the 51st minute of the second half. Showed glimpses of his attacking talent but the Irish centre partnership was targeted by the powerful English runners and was exposed more than once.

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Conor O'Brien  6

Was centrally involved in leading the brief Irish comeback after half time and made some pleasing line-breaks. Showed his heart late on when he made a stunning 'man-and-ball' tackle in the 65th minute to prevent a certain England try.

Hugo Keenan  6

Another who never got to show his undoubted attacking prowess, the Clontarf man did battle valiantly. Single-handedly topped a near-certain England try in the 61st minute when the game was done and dusted but it showed Keenan's spirit.

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Johnny McPhillips  5

Not a great day at the office for the Newcastle-born Ulster man. He kicked his two conversions (the first one was tricky to be fair) but fairly or unfairly, outhalves are judged against the opposition number 10. Harry Mallinder ran the show for England and was named Man of the Match. He looks a certain star in the making so McPhillips was certainly overshadowed.

Stephen Kerins  5

Again on a day when Ireland were getting very little quick ball and getting destroyed at the breakdown, Kerins didn't get much of a chance to show his talents. Like McPhillips, was outshone by his English equivalent - Randall (who came on after 32 minutes). Kerins won't look back with any pride at his silly yellow card for not retreating ten yards after Randall ran a penalty.

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Max Deegan  6

Rumbled over in the last two minutes for Ireland's consolation try. But he was watched carefully by the English who had seen his inspirational displays in Ireland's games against Wales and Argentina especially. Today's try was his third in the tournament and he was fully deserving of his nomination for Player Of The Tournament.

David Aspil  5

The flanker never really got going today. Was perhaps unheralded for his work in previous games where Deegan got all the attention but Aspil has had a great tournament. But Ireland got destroyed at the breakdown - England got their hands on absolutely everything - and Aspil, like Deegan and Jones, never got a foothold.

Greg Jones  5

Jones, like his Leinster clubmates Aspil and Deegan will not enjoy looking back at the replay of this final. The Ireland back-row was completely undone by their English equivalent and Jones never imposed himself on the game in any meaningful way.

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 James Ryan  7

The man tagged with the "next Paul O'Connell" tag never shirked his duties. Part of an Irish lineout that actually functioned pretty well but never got a chance to get going in the loose. Played a captain's part and his tackling was immense. It wasn't the showstopping stuff people have come to expect from Ryan but he was vying with Stockdale and Deegan for Ireland's best performer on a disappointing day.

Sean O'Connor  6

The 'Rock of Cashel' never stopped trying and showed he is no Robin to Ryan's Batman by having a pretty solid game in his own way. His workrate was remarkable but like the rest of the Irish forwards - was simply overpowered by the English pack.

Ben Betts  5

The Young Munster man never stopped trying. But was part of a front-row that was decimated by the English scrum and lucky not to give away at least one penalty try at scrumtime. 5

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Adam McBurney  6

His 46th minute try was the beginning of an Irish comeback that never happened. His darts were pretty accurate but like Betts and Porter - will not look back at scrumtime with any happy memories. Always lively in the open, McBurney, like most of his colleagues, never got the ball to really cause damage today.

Andrew Porter  5

Would rival Deegan for Ireland's player of the tournament. Never stopped trying but was part of a front-row that was simply overpowered by the English scrum. Is certain to make an impact at Leinster sooner than later but today was not one of his best days as part of a creaky Irish scrum.

Subs

Evan Mintern  5

Never really involved in a game that had ended a long time before he came in

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Niall Saunders  5

The Harlequins man didn't make much of an impact but his passes looked snappy and had one impactful tackle.

Brett Connon  5

Replaced the ineffective McPhillips and converted Deegan's late try. Looked nervous and made some sloppy decisions.

Kelvin Brown  6

Made a real impact when he came in. Brown made three line-breaks in just over 20 minutes on the field and must be asking what he has to do to break the Leinster stronghold on the back-row.

Photo by Matt McNulty/Sportsfile

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