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The Irish Player Ratings From A Strange But Fun Victory Over Fiji

The Irish Player Ratings From A Strange But Fun Victory Over Fiji
By James Carroll
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On the back of a hugely convincing win over South Africa, Joe Schmidt named 13 changes to his side for the visit of Fiji, who narrowly lost 23-20 to Ireland in the Aviva this evening.

Ireland looked to be focused right from the off when Darren Sweetnam set Ireland on their way after seven minutes when some fine footwork and passing from out half Joey Carberry put the Munsterman in to touch down in the corner. Two tries followed as well as one in response from the visitors to put Ireland 17-10 ahead at halftime.

Fiji levelled the game shortly into the second half but Ireland regrouped and Ian Keatley's two penalties proved to be the difference for Ireland to eventually win 23-20.

Here's how we rated the Irish performers on the day.

15 - Andrew Conway - 8

Conway started where he left off last week against South Africa, called upon to fulfil the full back role, he ran a beautiful line and pass for Dave Kearney to score a try. Only for a bounce of ball, Conway would have been on the scoresheet himself. He was awarded man of the match for his performance

14 - Darren Sweetnam - 8

Sweetnam has been keeping Andrew Conway out of the Munster team of late and his performance today proved why, the winger touched down for Ireland's opener and he always looked dangerous with the ball on the right wing

13 - Chris Farrell - 5

Brought incredible physicality from the off but the Munster centre had a low key performance. No missed tackles but offering very little in attack which undoubtedly will disappoint him it should be remembered it was his first cap.


12 - Stuart McCloskey - 6

Started the game like a house on fire with huge physicality and constantly looking to off load in the tackle but himself and Farrell struggled to combine together in attack. Did nothing to help change Schmidt's opinion of him.

11 - Dave Kearney - 7

Tackled everything that came his way, kept great width to score a try in the corner after 23 minutes. Although not a spectacular performance Kearney did the basics incredibly well, something which Schmidt values more than anything but one attempted skip pass lead to a Fiji intercept and probably didn't do enough to move up the pecking order.

10 - Joey Carbery - 8


Joe Schmidt appeared to put pressure on the Leinster star at the pre match press conference by stating there was not many windows left for the youngster to perform at out half but Carbery set the tone immediately with a superb break to set up Darren Sweetnam for the first try of the game. Place kicking will be a cause for a concern missing two conversions, he missed three tackles as well but overall a good performance.


9 - Kieran Marmion - 6

Marmion showcased his sharp and crisp passing but heaven forbid that Ireland suffer an injury to Conor Murray, a couple of wayward box kicks while conceding three turnovers. A mixed bag for the Connacht man.

1 - Jack McGrath - 7

McGrath was not considered for selection against the Springboks but the Lions prop was phenomenal in the scrum and solid in broken play. A decent outing for the St. Marys' man.

2 - Rob Herring - 6

Other than throwing into the line out Herring rarely got the ball in hand but he can be reasonably pleased with how he performed, despite losing two of his 13 line outs thrown.


3 - Andrew Porter - 6

A quiet game for the loose head come tight head prop but we must not forget it was just his third appearance in green jersey. Ireland won all of the scrums while he was on the pitch.

4 - Ultan Dillane - 6

Heralded for his ball playing skills, the second row made an impressive break midway through the second half beating one defender in the process but he will be disappointed when failing to deal with Fiji's kick off return that lead to the Fijian's levelling the game late on.

5 - Devin Toner - 5

Another player to have a quiet game, solid in the line out and no missed tackles but Ireland's pack were at times dominated by the Fijian pack. Below par from the 6 ft 10' man.


6 - Rhys Ruddock - 6

The blindside flanker was given the armband but Ruddock struggled to have the same impact as last week. Conceded a turnover and struggled to deal with the physicality that the Fijian back row brought.

7 - Jordi Murphy - 6

Having spent months on the sideline through injury it was clear from the start that Muprhy was keen to impress, he ran tirelessly around the pitch, won Ireland's first turnover of the match and was also used as a line out jumper. Gassed towards the end but he will be pleased with his return.

8 - Jack Conan - 7

If Ireland did not have such strength and depth in the back row Conan would be the starting number eight. He showed fantastic reactions to pick up the ball and run half the pitch to score Ireland's third try.


Substitutes - 7

Leinster's Cian Healy and Munster's Ian Keatley were the standout impact players. Healy for barrowling over two Fijian's and Keatley secured a narrow victory for Ireland with two penalties from the tee.

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