Sport Six Nations

Friday 23 March 2018

Irish player ratings from defeat to France: Who stood out for Joe Schmidt's side?

Who stood for Ireland on a disappointing day in Paris?
Who stood for Ireland on a disappointing day in Paris?

Tom Rooney

We take a closer look at how Ireland fared as individuals during their narrow loss to France at the Stade de France.

Rob Kearney 

Typically solid in those rare moments he was called on to defend, but continues to offer little offensive threat. His place should no longer be guaranteed. 5

Andrew Trimble

In the end, he had scant collisions with the Fijian Vakatawa as France were pretty narrow until the final quarter. Saw little ball throughout, unlike his bravura display here two years ago. 6

Jared Payne

Another excellent showing in defence from the Kiwi. Payne made some fine reads and patrolled his channel efficiently. Straightened the line in attack but may be more useful from full back. 7

Robbie Henshaw

Beautifully fielded a Sexton Garryowen in the first half and always looked a threat with ball in hand. The Connacht tyro was a potent physical presence with and without  possession. 8

Dave Kearney

He spilled the pill as he sought to finish off a decent first half tilt for the French line. Was  unfairly smashed by the French skipper Guilhem Guirado before going off. In truth, it was an error strewn day from the winger. 5

Johnny Sexton

The out half was visibly angry to be called ashore just prior to French try, but put in a fine 69 minutes. Kicked all his points, even as the Parisian hordes  bombarded him with hostility, though should have tested France more under the high ball as it was clearly a weakness. 7

Conor Murray

His box kicks for exits were consistently on the money. The scrum half moved the French around the park with aplomb and his was delivery top notch.  8

Jack McGrath

A veritable human bulldozer around the park in round one, McGrath should be forgiven for failing to hit those heights again six days later. Still, he largely scrummaged well until France’s salvo for Medard’s try. Needs a rest. 6

Rory Best

First line out went eschew but Best’s darts were near flawless thereafter. Defended like a lion as France came in waves but couldn’t get over the ball and poach as is usually his wont. 6

Nathan White

Made fairly light work of France’s new look scrum in the first half and should take pride in his recovery for Wales debacle. Replaced by Tadhg Furlong just as Ireland needed him most. His presence may have prevented France’s try. 7

Mike McCarthy

Suffered two huge knocks to head before coming off just after the hour. In the first half as Ireland outmuscled the French eight, McCarthy was in the thick of it. 7

Devin Toner

As always, an ample target out of touch and in securing restarts. His lack of dynamism in the loose became increasingly evident as France wrestled the game away from Ireland’s grasp. 6

CJ Stander

Perhaps not to the barnstorming levels of last week’s debut, but the Munster captain was again fantastic. Ferocious carries around the fringes and a nuisance on the deck. 8

Sean O’Brien

Only lasted 19 minutes before being hauled off with a knee injury, but made five carries and four tackles (8). Tommy O’Donnell picked up where he left off last week (7).

Jamie Heaslip

Failed to replicate his Trojan shift from the Aviva six days ago and, while Heaslip couldn’t be faulted for endeavour, he made minimal impact. 6


Tadhg Furlong: Made mince meat of  by Eddy Ben Arous prior to decisive try. Still very young but must adapt post haste. 5

Donnacha Ryan: Put it about with his usual grunt when on and could be in line for a start at Twickenham. 6

Richardt Strauss: On the retraating side for his nine minute cameo. 6

Ian Madigan: Kicked a restart out on the full which will draw a cringe during Monday's video session and saw little ball. 5

Fergus McFadden: Battled hard and defended like a terrier but lacks the pace for this level. 6

James Cronin: In the scrum that wilted for France to kill the game, though damage was done before he arrived. 6

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport