Ireland 35 Russia 0: How the Irish players rated

Gavin Cummiskey looks at Irish performances after an underwhelming win over Russia

Ireland began to put their World Cup back on track after their shock loss to Japan but it took over an hour to secure a bonus point in an unconvincing 35-0 win over a stubborn Russia. Video: Reuters

 

15 Rob Kearney

In the form of his life but injured, again. Perhaps he knows - after recent contract negotiations - that the end is near for Ireland’s most decorated and best ever fullback. Some 17 tries in a green jersey. Nothing for four years. Three in the last month. Indispensable. Rating: 7

14 Andrew Conway

Delivered. Skinned Denis Simplikevich whenever the opportunity arose. Let one ball bounce in the Irish 22 after a miscommunication with Kearney but increasingly looks a more reliable number 23 than Jordan Larmour. Rating: 7

13 Garry Ringrose

Looked completely destroyed at the end. Rolls royced over on 75 minutes and while brilliant in patches, thankfully, he avoided having to carry the entire load. On ice now for 17 days. Rating: 7

12 Bundee Aki

Slippy ball can be this Connacht hero’s excuse as the pill betrayed his grasp to cough up attacks when the bonus point was yet to be banked. Supposedly, Robbie Henshaw will reappear against Samoa. Aki will presumably remain at 12. Rating: 5

11 Keith Earls

The Limerick flyer should be skipping into space, not being put into forced positions to gather the Carty chip and put Conway away for the bonus point try, but there he was, taking responsibility as a quiet leader by example. Rating: 6

10 Johnny Sexton

Tactical removal. No worries. Needs to play 60 minutes against the punishing Samoans, where he will be damaged because he will always put himself in harm’s way. Nobody organises like him. More essential than ever before. Rating: 7

9 Luke McGrath

Neat and tidy 80 minutes. When Sexton was gone and with Carty still rummaging through his bag of tricks, he brought calmness and a few snipes but not enough. None of them produced enough. Rating: 5

1 Dave Kilcoyne

Guess how much honest ball he carried? Nine runs for 17 metres but it’s the memory of him being smashed and driven backwards by Japanese men that lingers. Not enough to claim the jersey. Rating: 5

2 Niall Scannell

The scene has been set a few times for the Cork man to dislodge Rory Best but the 27-year-old has never been good enough. Doesn’t look like an elite test match hooker. Rating: 4

3 John Ryan

Fumble in early contact but latch assist for Ruddock try showed what he is all about. Honest as the Misaki was humid and sticky but purely on tour to cover the world class tightheads. Rating: 4

4 Tadhg Beirne

Lineout caller, he mostly went to himself, in a role he only began when arriving in Munster last year. All part of the plan (the break in case of emergency plan) he produced much of his usual excellence but not enough to leap over Iain Henderson. Rating: 6

5 Jean Kleyn

This is why the South African was picked ahead of Devin Toner. To out muscle Russians. Looked the part against the semi-professionals but the removal of lineout security still feels like the decision that will keep the Irish World Cup curse alive. Rating: 3

6 Rhys Ruddock

Man of the moment never mind the match. The ultimate dirt tracker surely became the starting blindside. Would have been established aeons ago if not for injury. Carried like a bull for 48 metres from 11 runs with each one of his 14 tackles melting a Russian into the grass. Rating: 8

7 Peter O’Mahony

In a straight scrap with Josh van der Flier to be the starting openside after this Ruddock display. Van der Flier is a proven impact player. That might be the essential balance. They are the last men standing. Rating: 5

8 Jordi Murphy

Try assist for Kearney’s runaway finish possibly all his World Cup will see from the Ulster openside playing number eight. Long haul flights can soften anyone. Time for Toner? Rating: 4

Bench

Andrew Porter looks like the starting lossehead. CJ Stander did CJ Stander stuff but he is being flogged and while Jack Carty came into the fray and danced, this is not what is demanded of a 10 in a World Cup contender’s team. Ireland are anything but that. Rating: 5

Coach

Not his best week. Authoritative as ever but used the media to excoriate the match officials from the Japan defeat. Perhaps the revelation about how they missed three offsides worked a treat. Perhaps it will come back to bite Ireland when the rub of the green is really needed. Rating: 4

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