Ireland ratings


10 Jonathan SextonMissed two difficult penalties but the real shame is the coach’s ridiculous idea that shifting him to 12, to cater for his predecessor, is of any benefit to Ireland’s attack. 6

2 Richardt Strauss

Impressive debut considering the unholy beating he took, busted open after just three minutes, shipping several sly digs from Vermeulen and almost decapitated by Coetzee. 6

6 Peter O’Mahony

Honest in his endeavour and effective but coughed up a simple three points for Lambie on 52 minutes when not releasing. In this arm wrestle it proved very costly. 6

15 Simon Zebo

Promising international future. As a winger. Glimpses of his electric running ability but over use on telegraphed backline moves allowed the Boks to drift across and snuff out the threat. 7

3 Mike Ross

Serious effort until wounded but Heinke van der Merwe beat him in the most important scrum as it allowed Lambie to make it 16-12. 6

4 Mike McCarthy

Played like a man possessed, matching the physicality of the most powerful opponents he has ever faced. Looked a genuine Test lock especially when hammering Etzebeth. 7

5 Donnacha Ryan

Continually sought to carry and ran an impressive lineout that ensured Ireland had a platform to stay in the contest right down the strait. Superb, ferocious. 7

1 Cian Healy

As hard as any Springbok. His absence was even more keenly felt than Heaslip’s in those crucial three minutes before Pienaar dived over for the game’s defining score. 7

11 Andrew Trimble

Showed well in the face of the Pietersen threat – who probably still doesn’t know his name – and was his usual forceful, honest self without ever looking like a feared Test winger. 6

12 Gordon D’Arcy

It’s his subtle defensive work that remains so essential as one error from this man and the floodgates were liable to open. 70 not out. 6

13 Keith Earls

Some cracking moments of his dancing feet in tight corridors and held up well in defence but flung one shocking left-handed skip pass into touch. 6

9 Conor Murray

The Reddan switch on 61 minutes, intended to speed matters up, failed and he should probably be trusted for 80 minutes against Argentina. 6

8 Jamie Heaslip (capt)

Action that led to sin-binning was arguably worth the risk but needs to improve communication with the referee. He had annoyed Wayne Barnes by the half hour. 6

14 Tommy Bowe

Starved of possession, yet covered well, and while we still await the brilliance of 2009 to reappear he remains a key figure should Ireland ever evolve as an attacking team. 6

7 Chris Henry

Took some brutal punishment, particularly from Pietersen, yet constantly threw his body over the grounded man and finally looks like a capable international flanker. 6


No beneficial impact with Eoin Reddan struggling and Ronan O’Gara’s chip killing any chance of a respectable last stand. Serious problem. 4

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