Sport

Sunday 19 February 2017

Ireland v New Zealand ratings

Published 20/11/2016 | 10:16

New Zealand's Malakai Fekitoa scored two tries against Ireland
New Zealand's Malakai Fekitoa scored two tries against Ireland

IRELAND

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Rob Kearney: Strong in the air and under the high ball but not as accurate as he can be with his boot. 7/10.

Andrew Trimble: A good reader of the game and almost snatched an interception try. Good pace and attack when he saw the ball. 6.

Jared Payne: Could have done better to stop Beauden Barrett's try. Won a penalty after Kearney was held up short to put Ireland within a score of New Zealand in the second half. Fumbled the ball and missed the chance for a late try. 6.

Robbie Henshaw: Hit by a high tackle by Sam Cane and replaced by Garry Ringrose early in the first half. Had little chance to make an impact. 5.

Simon Zebo: Did not get much chance to stretch his legs in the first half and was hauled down by a high tackle early in the second. Saw little of the ball. 6.

Johnny Sexton: Left the field before the 20-minute mark due to what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Kicked an early penalty before his departure with Ireland left to rue losing his game management and kicking game. 5.

Conor Murray: Could have done better to prevent New Zealand's opening try but kept his energy levels high even if New Zealand were wise to his sniping tactics in this rematch. 6.

Jack McGrath: A workmanlike performance. 6.

Rory Best: Solid throwing in the line out and effective at the breakdown. 7.

Tadhg Furlong: Did not impose his authority in the line out early on but improved during the match and showed his athleticism in the loose. 6.

Donnacha Ryan: Did his work well and kept his energy in the loose. Came close to scoring a try. 6.

Devin Toner: A solid target in Ireland's line out. 6.

CJ Stander: Displayed his strength and physicality as he was held up over the line then shoved New Zealand players out of the way as Ireland tried to make their numerical advantage pay when Aaron Smith was sin-binned. Left the field with a head injury midway through the first half of the bruising encounter. 6.

Sean O'Brien: Lively in the loose, held up over the line early in the first half and with a turn of pace to deny speedy hooker Dane Coles racing down the wing. A solid comeback match. 7.

Jamie Heaslip: Line break nearly set up O'Brien for a quick reply to New Zealand's opener. Strong in defence. 7.

Replacements: 7

Heavily utilised in this bruising encounter with the reigning world champions. Paddy Jackson took over kicking duties from Sexton and kicked two penalties while Josh van der Flier asked a few questions of the All Blacks defence while Sean Cronin made some strong runs upfield.

NEW ZEALAND

Ben Smith: Solid at the back for New Zealand. 7.

Israel Dagg: Good work in defence and did not get much chance to display his attacking prowess save for a flicker of space in the second half when he outstripped Zebo to almost set up a try. 6.

Malakai Fekitoa: Crossed for the All Blacks' first try early in the match then spent the start of the second half in the sin-bin after a high tackle on Zebo. Returned to cross the whitewash again. 8.

Anton Lienert-Brown: Worked well in defence and denied Van der Flier a try in the second half. 6.

Julian Savea: Not a commanding performance by his standards. 6.

Beauden Barrett: Showed an electric turn of pace to score New Zealand's second try despite being under pressure from Sexton. Could have added a second but knocked the ball forward before setting up Fekitoa's second. Kicked all three conversions. 8.

Aaron Smith: Sent to the sin-bin for kicking a ball through a ruck and arguably one of the weaker links in this New Zealand side. 6.

Joe Moody: Replaced by Wyatt Crockett at the start of the second half. 6.

Dane Coles: Solid line outs from the New Zealand hooker, who also popped up on the wing. Good turn of pace from a short line out but coughed up the ball. 7.

Owen Franks: Replaced early in the second half. A solid enough performance. 6.

Brodie Retallick: Was wise to Murray's tricks and did not allow the Ireland scrum-half space. Brought some strength to New Zealand's line out. 7.

Sam Whitelock: His return saw an improvement in New Zealand's line out and was effective in the loose. 7.

Liam Squire: A solid performance. 6.

Sam Cane: Avoided a yellow card after a reckless high tackle on Henshaw after wrapping his arms round the Irishman. Replaced by Ardie Savea in the 19th minute after picking up an ankle injury. 6.

Kieran Read: Good carries and strong and dependable at the back of the All Blacks scrum. 7.

Replacements: 7

TJ Perenara was the stand out from New Zealand's bench when he showed fast hands to ship the ball to Fekitoa for New Zealand's third try. Good strength and depth with Aaron Cruden taking charge after he replaced Barrett.

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