Monday 23 April 2018

Murray, Zebo and Henshaw top dogs in Ireland player ratings

Man of the match Robbie Henshaw after the RBS Six Nations match against England
Man of the match Robbie Henshaw after the RBS Six Nations match against England
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

It was another highly impressive performance from the boys in green as they sit at the top of the Six Nations table. Here is how they rated against England.

Rob Kearney (8)

Another assured performance from one of the team's leaders who outplayed Alex Goode from start to finish and barely put a foot wrong. Heavily involved throughout.

Tommy Bowe (7)

Lorded it in the air against Jack Nowell and was involved in open play. Switched to centre in the final 10 minutes when Jared Payne was forced off and wasn't found wanting in defence.

Jared Payne (7)

The foil for Henshaw's explosiveness, Payne is all subtle touches and intelligent carries. He left the play with a head injury after making a crucial tackle in the open field.

Robbie Henshaw (9)

A sensational display from the Athlone native despite injuring his ankle during the first half. Ireland's top tackler, he carried hard and pulled off a Shane Horgan-esque try to cap it off.

Simon Zebo (9)

Zebo will haunt Anthony Watson's dreams after his best display for Ireland. Lorded it in the air and set up the try with a monster tackle. Then, when Watson threatened, he hunted him down.

Johnny Sexton (8)

His hamstring injury will give Joe Schmidt sleepless nights ahead of the Wales game and Ireland declined in his absence. As good in defence as with ball in hand.

Conor Murray (9)

Another 80 minute performance from a scrum-half growing in stature with every game. Physically and strategically dominant and dangerous with ball in hand.

Jack McGrath (8)

Another with a career-high performance level, particularly during the opening 20 minutes when he popped up with ball in hand time and time again. Didn't take a backward step.

Rory Best (8)

Hadn't been his greatest championship up until yesterday, but the Ulster captain repaid his coach's faith with a strong performance in defence, attack and at the breakdown.

Mike Ross (7)

Held his own once again at the scrum and showed up in the open field when asked to carry. Earning Joe Schmidt's backing on a weekly basis.

Devin Toner (8)

A benchmark performance from the second row whose lineout steal from James Haskell was vital, while his industry around the park with and without the ball was excellent.

Paul O'Connell (8)

The captain is showing few signs of his age as he led from the front with a dominant performance. Doesn't make many metres with ball in hand, but an important contribution.

Peter O'Mahony (8)

Was out on his feet at the end after a performance in which the Corkman gave absolutely everything. Carried, tackled, rucked his heart out and made a lineout steal to boot.

Sean O'Brien (7)

Didn't want to leave the fray after coming off the worst from a collision with George Ford, but showed what Ireland have been missing during his abrasive 24 minutes.

Jordi Murphy (7)

The absence of Jamie Heaslip was a concern going in, but the Leinster youngster was a dynamic addition, a terror at the breakdown and gave an intelligent performance.

Replacements

Tommy O'Donnell (8) was outstanding when introduced as a replacement for O'Brien, taking over where the Tullowman had left off. Ian Madigan (6) will be a little disappointed with how Ireland's control slipped on his watch, although Schmidt praised his defensive contribution. Marty Moore (6) and Cian Healy (7) made an impact, while Iain Henderson's (6) energy levels were much needed. Felix Jones and Sean Cronin weren't on long enough to rate.

Joe Schmidt (9)

The coach deserves huge credit once again for his team's tenth successive win. Stuart Lancaster said he knew what was coming, but Ireland's execution was top class.

Online Editors

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