Saturday 18 November 2017

Here is how the Irish players rated in today's World Cup win over Canada

Iain Henderson the pick of the bunch for Joe Schmidt's men

Irish players celebrate after winning a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between Ireland and Canada at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on September 19, 2015.
Irish players celebrate after winning a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between Ireland and Canada at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on September 19, 2015.
Roy Curtis

Roy Curtis

Ireland raked up a big score to see off Canada in their opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. With sterner tests ahead, coach Joe Schmidt will still be please with Irish performance. Here is how the players rated in Cardiff.

Rob KearneySatisfactory, try scoring afternoon, without rising to his devastating afterburner hitting best.  6

Dave Kearney:  Another try-scorer, his impressive autumnal run has vaulted him ahead of all other wings.  6

Jared Payne:  A careless kick gifted Canada their try; touchdown of his own won’t save him from Schmidt’s video review wrath.  6

Luke Fitzgerald:  Hungry in an unfamiliar position, worked diligently at breakdown; a highly positive afternoon.  7

Keith Earls:  Produced the pass of the day for Kearney try.  Fighting with Zebo/Fitzgerald for one wing berth. 6

Johnny Sexton:  A near perfect 55 minutes.  Try-scoring command display, kicked well, full of wit and incision, from Ireland’s marquee player.  8

 

Conor Murray:  Highly effective box-kicking, sharp around the fringes; one of Schmidt’s key men.  7

Jack McGrath:  One of Ireland’s most improved players; dominant in the scrum, will have mixed feelings about Healy’s return.  7

Rory Best:  Linked well with Ulster colleague Henderson; the straight man in the double act with more explosive Cronin.  7

Mike Ross:  He will never be overly visible around the pitch.  Scrummaging against Italy and France will define his tournament.  6

Iain Henderson:  Sensational.  A shooting star; like a stock whose value is going through the roof.  Man of the Match.  9

 

Paul O’Connell:  Twice held up on the try-line, delivered hit of match on Canadian hooker, yellow card a negative.  7

Peter O’Mahony:  Henderson’s ability to play six puts him under pressure.  More abrasive, better ball-carrying than recent weeks.  7

Sean O’Brien:  Excellent first half when his direct running posed questions to which Canada had no answer.  7

Jamie Heaslip:  Did nothing particularly wrong, but still an absence of the old explosive ball-carrying.  It will be needed down the line.  6

Replacements:  I. Madigan 7, S. Cronin 7, C. Healy 5, J. White 6, C. Henry 5, E. Reddan 5

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