Ireland 20 England 32: Ireland player ratings

Gavin Cummiskey looks at Joe Schmidt’s side after a comprenensive opening defeat

Garry Ringrose can’t prevent Henry Slade from scoring for England. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Garry Ringrose can’t prevent Henry Slade from scoring for England. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

Robbie Henshaw

Not embarrassingly exposed on return to the back field but Rob Kearney’s experience and in-game ability to figure out what England were doing was missed while Henshaw failed to take Ireland’s attacking game to another level. Rating: 5

Robbie Henshaw tips back a high ball in Ireland’s defeat to England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Robbie Henshaw tips back a high ball in Ireland’s defeat to England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Keith Earls

Tom Curry was sin binned for emptying him before Maro Itoje avoided similar sanction when all but kneeing the Munster winger out of the game. He soldiered on to half-time. Rating: 4

Keith Earls was substituted at half-time of Ireland’s defeat. Photograph: james Crombie/Inpho
Keith Earls was substituted at half-time of Ireland’s defeat. Photograph: james Crombie/Inpho

Garry Ringrose

Flecks of class in a congested midfield, constantly probing for an opportunity that never came and while superb throughout the bottom line never lies: the other 13, Henry Slade, leaves with two tries. Rating: 7

Bundee Aki

Sought to mix it with the 100kg-plus boys but he’ll never be that size so the work-rate, while noticeable, proved largely ineffective. Rating: 5

Jacob Stockdale

Elliot Daly’s try rests at his doorstep. Outrageous confidence saw him attempt to control Daly’s grubber one-handed in the dead ball area. Jack Nowell made perfect contact, the ball hit the grass and Daly pounced. Costly. Rating: 5

Johnny Sexton

Worst passing performance in recent memory. England came to cause him damage - Courtney Lawes eventually doing the job - and he was understandably rag-dolled at several rucks but the usual response never came. Rating: 5

Conor Murray

Nowhere near the alpha scrumhalf world rugby witnessed in 2017 and 2018. Base kicking from defensive situations was important but trademark sniping and sweeper role was largely negated by English awareness and clever tactics. Rating: 5

Cian Healy

Ten seasons later, he continues to meet the bludgeoning ferocity of ogres with a wonderful stubbornness and his lovely one metre try, fifth in the green jersey, makes him Ireland’s only heavyweight forward in profit. Rating: 6

Rory Best

There is a flaw in the captain’s game and England exposed it - his worst lineout throws tend to occur deep in his own territory, with three points the cost before half-time that so easily could have been seven. Rating: 4

Tadhg Furlong

Vital defensive contributions, like stopping Mako Vunipola’s charge to the try line, but he gets lumped with the other forwards after being out played by the English props. Rating: 6

Tadhg Furlong carries during Ireland’s opening defeat to England. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Tadhg Furlong carries during Ireland’s opening defeat to England. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Devin Toner

Ankle problem revisited and suddenly the Irish locking stocks are perilously low. Little impact in the physical stakes. All comers will take note and while he remains so important to Ireland’s lineout, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne are needed. Rating: 4

James Ryan

The double digit carries happened again, with 14 runs but a measly 13 metres, yet six tackles is well below his standard and when this man’s performance levels drop Ireland are guaranteed to struggle. Rating: 6

Peter O’Mahony

Took his time to pick a fight, Kyle Sinckler was game, but it mattered not even a jot. Hasn’t been this badly beaten up since a huge Clermont pack ransacked Thomond Park way back when but kept thundering into the fray. Rating: 6

Josh van der Flier

Topped the tackle count alongside Stander with 17 hits but bullied in the backrow war from start to finish. Rating: 4

CJ Stander

Bruised and battered out of the game on 63 minutes. Enter Seán O’Brien. Stander remains Ireland’s best number eight but six metres from 11 carries proves he was unable to make headway in an elite test match. Worrying. Rating: 6

Replacements: O’Brien showed well to almost guarantee his return to the team against Scotland while Andrew Porter, John Cooney and Sean Cronin did enough to create conversations around dropping three pillars of this Ireland team. The defeat is that serious. Rating: 5

Coach: Out-coached by Eddie Jones and assistants, especially in how the Ireland attack was so ruthlessly shut down, with Joe Schmidt admitting afterwards this was the worst defeat on his watch (in Dublin, Argentina in Cardiff is still number one). “Bullied,” he said, “Like the All Blacks did [in 2016].” Rating: 5

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