Thursday 22 August 2019

Here is how the Irish players rated in win over Argentina

Ian Keatley of Ireland following the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin
Ian Keatley of Ireland following the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Des Berry

Three from three in the Autumn internationals and, more importantly for coach Joe Schmidt, plenty of new faces who have staked a claim for Six Nations recognition.

ROB KEARNEY: The long-time Irish full-back may lack that fizzing fifth gear of a Stuart Hogg. But, he is the quintessential last man back, taking one ball overhead. There is none better at bouncing off defenders for momentum gains - 7.

ADAM BYRNE: The superior athletic gifts of the Leinster wing have to be matched by decisive decision-making. There was almost a debut try from Murray’s kick and signs of progress in his tackle technique - 7.

CHRIS FARRELL: The Clogher Valley man was charged with taking advantage of an unexpected chance to back-up and better his debut. The hands were gold standard for Stockdale’s try from the ‘surprise package’ of the month - 8.

BUNDEE AKI: The smash-mouth intensity of his game shows he is not here to take part, but to take over. This was a chance to show his skills as a pass-master. They need to be sharpened up to keep his coach on side – 7.

JACOB STOCKDALE: He can become a go-to man for Ireland in the Six Nations. He gobbled up the restarts, was patient in support for his first try, clamped down on Joaquin Tuculet in open play and drew gasps for his second try - 9.  

JONATHAN SEXTON: True to his word in the match day programme, the out-half attacked from deep whenever it was on. He was pure entertainment even though he likes nothing better than turning a tackle into a maul - 9.

CONOR MURRAY: The scrum-half comes under the elite category of ‘never has a bad game.’ The odd misplaced pass was compensated for by pinpoint ‘garryowens’ and a strong sniping presence that kept the Pumas honest in close – 7.

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CIAN HEALY: There is no more welcome sight in Irish rugby than witnessing ‘the second coming’ of the rehabilitated and re-established prop. The scrum was a knife through butter. His clean out work and tackling were emphatic – 8.  

RORY BEST: The nicest man in Irish rugby is captain for a reason. The lineout was super-smooth, until the last one, and the scrum super-charged. The 35 year-old never strayed too far away from his ruck work as a real nuisance – 8.   

TADHG FURLONG: The standard setter for Europe, never mind Ireland, was the cornerstone of a bristling scrum. There were regular  examples of his brutish strength and fine footwork on the ball as well as nimble hands for passing purposes – 9.

JAMES RYAN: The power of Henderson and the athleticism of the 21 year-old makes for a dream partnership on paper. He grew into his 48 minutes, the highlight of which was a sumptuous first-half offload made with complete control under closing pressure – 7.

IAIN HENDERSON: The Ulsterman is beginning to bring the level of consistency once the preserve of Paul O’Connell. He just has that happy knack of spoiling opposition ball at close quarters. Solid on both sides of the ball – 7.

PETER O’MAHONY: There has to be a disciplined element to every game plan and the Munster captain was mostly restricted to the unglamorous work of covering over the cracks in the defence – 6.  

SEAN O’BRIEN: For all of the Tullow Tank’s natural carrying game, there are too many times when he is given the pill standing still. That wasn’t always the case here as he often popped up wide out - 7.

CJ STANDER: The number eight deserved his try for the work-rate, the commitment and the bravery. When there is a mess that needs tidying, this sweeper is there. He could do with keeping the ball on the move more often – 7.

REPLACEMENTS.

DEVIN TONER (48 mins): 6.

DAVE KILCOYNE (59 mins): 6.

ANDREW CONWAY (59 mins): 6.

RHYS RUDDOCK (62 mins): 6.

JOHN RYAN (66 mins): 5.

JAMES TRACY (74 mins): 5.

IAN KEATLEY (74 mins): 5.

LUKE McGRATH: (76 mins) 5.

JOE SCHMIDT: The coach is charting Ireland’s path to the 2019 World Cup through building depth and consistency. For the most part, he achieved these goal while overseeing three wins from three this month - 9. 

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