Ireland 26 France 14: Ireland player ratings

Ireland beat France in the Aviva but who stood out for Joe Schmidt’s team?

The Irish team during the anthems at the Aviva before their win over France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Irish team during the anthems at the Aviva before their win over France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

15 Jordan Larmour - Not ideal conditions to drop into late. Started poorly and out jumped by Damian Penaud, then threw away the ball. As the game progressed he grew stronger and his balanced running troubled France, especially towards the end. Rating: 7

14 Keith Earls - Quiet first half and what he did was done well. Might have backed himself from Garry Ringrose’s pass but what ball he got he used well. Then hey presto the second half and his 30th try in 76 matches from an inside pass and turning on the gas from 30 metres. Rating: 8

13 Garry Ringrose - Welcome back. A few rusty moments early in the match but consistently changed point of attack wonderfully. One hand catch and pass to Earls a little cameo and almost a highball fetch and try. Intelligence and ability both in abundance. Rating: 9

12 Bundee Aki - Looking more comfortable with Ringrose outside. Again always available to take ball on and almost always made it over the gain line in traffic. A simple strategy but he does it with consistency and effectiveness. Rating: 7

11 Jacob Stockdale - Busy but didn’t get much space to gallop off. Tried one kick and chase but no good outcome. Used his physique well in muscling forward and defended well. For an individual player it was a team performance. Rating: 7

10 Johnny Sexton - Opted for the penalty lineout when three points would have been a comfort. Then finished a training ground move with a try. Decisive and in control. A few mistakes but far outweighed by return to match shaping form. Rating: 8

9 Conor Murray - Murray is at his best when he’s a menace and sniping. Kept Antoine Dupont honest at scrums and was ever alert to take on ball or kick. The old Murray emerged and it was encouraging to see and he came much closer to the influencing figure. Rating: 8

1 Cian Healy - A fabulous first half as he controlled his side of the scrum. Provided a massive clearout before Ireland’s disallowed try which he cleverly went for but knocked on. Excellent carrying and busy around the park, he played with a lot of emotional energy in his play. Rating: 9

France’s Thomas Ramos is taken down by Ireland’s CJ Stander and Cian Healy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
France’s Thomas Ramos is taken down by Ireland’s CJ Stander and Cian Healy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

2 Rory Best - The arrows were good just one overthrow in the first half and 10 on the bullseye. The Irish captain did all of his usual carries and cleaning out and he led well especially in the match winning section of the first 40 minutes. Rating: 8

3 Tadhg Furlong - Scrum excellent. Loose play as ever, with Furlong willing to carry ball in heavy traffic and his cleaning out was high tempo and forward driven. Rarely comes below a certain level of performance and this was no different. Rating: 8

4 Iain Henderson - The Ulster lock was abrasive and was a dominant force alongside James Ryan. The importance of the first 50 minutes can’t be understated and he easily outplayed his counterparts as well as some excellent set piece work. Rating: 8

5 James Ryan - Lineout, tick. Carrying, tick. Cleaning out, tick. Tackling, tick. Passing, tick. Work rate, tick. Like Ringrose, welcome back. A full on shift from the lock and he knows no other way to play and even slam dunked French scrumhalf Dupont behind his own try line. Rating: 9

6 Peter O’Mahony - He was everywhere and the man taking slaps on the back when the French came out big in the beginning of the second half after he turned the ball over in Ireland’s 22. Lineout as ever a safe place for Irish ball with his control. Rating: 8

7 Josh van der Flier - Was his usual industrious self more than doing anything eye catching, before going off after 23 minutes injured. But he was part of a first half Irish forwards performance that determined the outcome and earned himself another outing if fit. Rating: 6

8 CJ Stander - Usually we mark him up for carrying and making hard yards that not many players can. He did that and broke gain lines and that inside pass to Earls in the second half for his try adds awareness to an impressive physical game. Rating: 8

Coach - Joe Schmidt - Under pressure he put a team on the pitch that easily beat France by 12 points. When the bench came on they didn’t dip and the coach does that. The right frame of mind, flawless execution and the right mindset. Rating: 9

Replacements - Jack Conan, a first half replacement for Van der Flier did what was asked of him. He made an impact and got in straight away on carrying and turned up to knock the French hooker backwards for his first half try. The rest followed Conan’s example when they came on despite two late tries against. Rating: 7

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