Sport Rugby

Thursday 29 June 2017

REPLACEMENTS

Hugh Farrelly

ROB KEARNEY

There were Irish hearts in mouths all over the planet when Kearney went down clutching his knee after slipping for Vasily Artemyev's try, but thankfully it's not too serious. Assured display.

FERGUS McFADDEN

Needed to start at centre to further his claims, although he did move inside later. Could not exert as much influence as he would have hoped but did superbly for his try.

KEITH EARLS

Very lively showing, with two beautifully taken tries. Faces stiff competition from Andrew Trimble for the No 11 jersey next week but Earls is having an extremely productive World Cup.

PADDY WALLACE

Eight years a-coming, Wallace enjoyed his first World Cup start and though he had a few rough moments in defence, he had good moments in attack. Straightens the line beautifully.

ANDREW TRIMBLE

Top-quality performance, continuing on from an excellent August. Desperate for possession, Trimble ran aggressive lines, worked hard off the ball and bagged a try to keep the heat on Declan Kidney.

RONAN O'GARA

Began with a perfect kick down the line and ended with a beautiful one off the tee. Another classy performance by the out-half keeps the No 10 jersey debate very much to the forefront.

ISAAC BOSS

The Kiwi had plenty of support in the stands from his native Tokorua contingent and put himself about busily. Unfortunately, his passing let him down on a few occasions.

CIAN HEALY

Knows only one way to play. Healy tore into the Russians in the scrum and in the loose at every opportunity until he was sensibly withdrawn with Italy looming.

SEAN CRONIN

Disheartened by a couple of errant line-out throws but Cronin can reflect on a good World Cup debut where he scrummaged and carried well. Made of the right stuff.

TONY BUCKLEY

Didn't really happen for him in the loose but, although there were some penalty complications, Buckley had some monster moments in the scrum and muscled over for the last try.

DONNCHA O'CALLAGHAN

Did his thing with minimum fuss until he was prudently taken off not long after half- time. Will be a massively important figure against the gnarling, wrestling Italian pack.

LEO CULLEN

Cullen fully embraced the opportunity to captain his country in his first World Cup match and showed his leadership skills by lifting his team out of their slump periods.

DONNACHA RYAN

Good outing in two positions, with customary big hits and some tremendous moments in the loose. Decent cover at blindside but Ryan can be a real force at second-row.

SEAN O'BRIEN

Had to deal with Craig Joubert opting out at the breakdown but O'Brien delivered another top display which would have won Man of the Match had he been on the pitch longer.

JAMIE HEASLIP

Exploded in the second half with a series of big carries and did well to set up Kearney's try. Is building nicely up for the big ones and should peak against Sergio Parisse.

DENIS LEAMY 7

(O'Callaghan 46)

Very good showing with some of the best carrying he's produced for a while.

GEORDAN MURPHY 6

(Earls 49)

A good half-hour but will share backline frustration at try concessions.

MIKE ROSS 6

(for Healy 49)

Good idea to give Ross a run. Full of energy.

SHANE JENNINGS 6

(O'Brien 57)

Contributed well and showed opportunism for try.

EOIN REDDAN 7

(for Boss 66)

Always get a decent level of performance from him and he picked up the pace nicely.

JONATHAN SEXTON 6

(O'Gara 67)

Wild first pass and missed a conversion that he needed to slot but good otherwise.

DECLAN KIDNEY

Got the job done with enough areas of improvement needed to stave off complacency. Wanted to give Wallace the full 80 but it would have been good to see Sexton at 12 again.

Irish Independent

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