Sport Rugby

Sunday 17 November 2019


Little other than that the internal learning phase is largely completed and advanced option-preparation is well under way; expect tackling drills to dominate agenda in coming weeks.

15 Simon Zebo7

Opportunity for Zebo to show his versatility and performed basics well. Full of flair and impressive under high ball but concerns linger around lack of physicality in close exchanges.

14 Tommy Bowe 6

Nailed-on for the final squad, these games are simply an opportunity to gear up and find some injury-free form. Didn't look particularly sharp, possibly even coasting at times, but will improve with game time.

13 Jared Payne 6

Another near-certainty for squad selection. Midfield workhorse is not the type of player to light up these games but he seemed always involved; partnership with Darcy didn't look particularly comfortable, however.

12 Gordon D'Arcy 5

Extended his career for specific purpose of tournament selection, and a strong display was essential. Little opportunity to shine but appeared uncharacteristically out-of-sorts. Maybe a bridge too far.

11 Luke Fitzgerald 6.5

Carrying on from Murrayfield in March, looked sharp and threatening. Lengthy injury lay-offs mean that his presence is almost akin to having a 'bonus' player in the squad. A near- certainty for selection.

10 Ian Madigan 6.5

The smart money may be on his versatility ensuring final squad inclusion, but as an outhalf again lacking early-on in the basic duty of game-management. In real joust with Jackson for role as Sexton's understudy.

9 Isaac Boss 5.5

With three scrum-halves likely to travel, Boss's place looks to be secure, and this was his opportunity to force his way into the matchday squad. That might be stretching it, on this performance anyway.

1 Dave Kilcoyne 8

A victim of unprecedented strength in depth at loosehead, and now very much under the microscope amid concerns around Cian Healy. Scrummaged powerfully and carried to great effect.

2 Sean Cronin 7.5

If an unlikely starter come tournament time, his impact from the bench nonetheless is crucial. Scrappy nature of the game didn't suit his ball-carrying skills, but strong setpiece carried over from Cardiff.

3 Mike Ross 7

Schmidt, and everyone else, knows exactly what to expect from Ross, whose wellbeing is as essential to the overall RWC15 effort as is that of Sexton, Murray or O'Connell. Again, highly-efficient.


If already pencilled in, this was his chance to drill his way further into the minds of the coaching staff. Probably a missed opportunity though, being one of many to show signs of serious ring-rustiness.


Another to exhibit serious early-season issues. Varied the lineouts cleverly in O'Connell's absence, but had difficulty in asserting himself elsewhere; needs plenty of game-time in run-in to tournament.


Big day for the Leinster back-rower who appears best-placed to fulfill possible role of selection 'bolter'. Relatively comfortable in his new surroundings and did his 'bolter' chances no harm at all.


A great day for O'Brien, and Tullow RFC, in captaining the team. Had few opportunities to carry, but was effective as ever at breakdown. Useful outing at number eight.


Great to see him back starting after illness-enforced absence. Prominent throughout and formed formidable partnership at breakdown in tandem with O'Brien. One of Schmidt's most dependable lieutenants.

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