Sunday 23 October 2016

Ireland player ratings from Twickenham heartbreak

Tom Rooney

Published 27/02/2016 | 19:26

England's Dylan Hartley leads his team off the field at the end of the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium
England's Dylan Hartley leads his team off the field at the end of the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium
27 February 2016; Josh van der Flier, Ireland, is tackled by Mike Brown, England. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, England v Ireland, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Alas, Ireland remain without a win in the Six Nations following a harrowing defeat in Twickenham but, certain individuals gave cause for great optimism in the future.

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Rob Kearney

To be fair to the maligned full back, he sought out the ball with great frequency in the second half and made some decent yardage. His best showing of the season to date. 6


Andrew Trimble

Was quite literally steamrolled by the Vunipola train in the first half, but was as tenacious and willing as ever. 5

Robbie Henshaw

Henshaw made a searing break at the end of the first half which, like so many Irish attacks, ended in nothing. Will kick himself for losing control of the pill in the corner after taking a super line off Sexton. He looks comfortable in the infamous 13 channel, made eight of nine attempted tackles. 8

Stuart McCloskey

The newcomer looked unnerved by the occasion in the early goings but made a purposeful carry at the beginning of the second half which led to a penalty. Had his moments before being replaced by Simon Zebo. 6

Keith Earls

Sparkled briefly after Conor Murray’s try, but it proved a largely quiet afternoon for Earls. To be fair, he saw little of the ball. 5

Johnny Sexton

Sure to be a central talking point in the days to come as he took more punishment, but the out half was a picture of bravery and composure. Made a wonderful break and pass to create Henshaw’s dart for the corner with 15 minutes to go. 7


Conor Murray 

His passing and kicking lacked their customary accuracy in the first half, though the Munster nine received poor protection from his pack.

Yet, it mattered little when crossed over for his second try of the campaign after shipping a horrific hit from James Haskell. Forced off with a nasty looking eye injury. 6

Jack McGrath

Relatively anonymous by the standards he’s set in the campaign to date. Scrummaged well and chipped in nine tackles before being called ashore with Mike Ross. 5

Rory Best

The captain was at the vanguard of the herculean defensive effort in the first half and bravely got under James Haskell to prevent a certain try. However, his darts wavered at vital moments, while the captaincy may be a burden. 5

Mike Ross

How vital the Cork man is to the Irish cause. The scrum was immediately stabilised for his presence. Can reflect with content on a productive 58 minutes. 6


Donnacha Ryan

A real mongrel in the trenches and relished the attrition, like a true Munster warrior. 6

Devin Toner

Toner battled tooth and nail from start to finish and personified the courage of this currently wounded group. 6

CJ Stander

Another Trojan effort from Stander, both with and without the ball. Carried, tackled and scrapped on the deck like a man possessed. 8

Josh Van Der Flier

The Leinster tyro was undaunted by such a searing crucible. Van Der Flier gave every ounce of himself in a display of real quality. Lovely little offload for Dillane late on, and arguably should have had a debut try. 8

Jamie Heaslip

Affected pivotal turnover to stymie English onslaught in the early goings, but it would be difficult for anyone to distinguish themselves today when Billy Vunipola was their opposite number. 5


Cian Healy

Not a particularly productive return to the fold for Healy, who made no ground from five carries and conceded a turnover. 4

Nathan White

Threw himself right into the thick of things for the final quarter and was solid come scrum time. 7

Simon Zebo

Made some ground upon his arrival and did little wrong. 5

Ultan Dillane

The Connacht man carried ferociously as Ireland chased the game. A fantastic athlete and serious prospect at this level. 8

Rhys Ruddock

Made minimal impact, which wholly flies in the face as to why he was sent on. 4

Eoin Reddan

As is customary, Reddan upped the tempo as soon he was brought into the fray. 6

Ian Madigan

Showed plenty of intent what few times he got ball in hand, but Paddy Jackson deserves his shot. 5

Richardt Strauss

Similar to Ruddock his contribution was near non-existent. Sean Cronin may have offered more. 5

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