Ireland 47 Samoa 5: How the Ireland players rated

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over a resurgent Ireland after their win in Fukuoka

Tadhg Furlong crashes over for Ireland’s second try in Fukuoka. Photograph: Jayne Russell/Inpho

Tadhg Furlong crashes over for Ireland’s second try in Fukuoka. Photograph: Jayne Russell/Inpho

 

Jordan Larmour

Rising star in the land of the rising sun. Danced and bounced away from Samoan hard shoulders to create Sexton’s first try. Kicking game also evolving nicely. Rating: 8

Jordan Larmour skates in to score Ireland’s fifth try in their win over Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Jordan Larmour skates in to score Ireland’s fifth try in their win over Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Keith Earls

Part of the fumble crew when Ireland had the now usual second-quarter stumble but, like all six remaining backs, produced a heroic shift after Aki walked. Rating: 6

Robbie Henshaw

Looked every inch a man who has played next to no rugby since May with a string of errors including the sloppy pass that led to his pal being red carded but vital 63 minutes as he’s the guaranteed 12 next weekend. Rating: 5

Bundee Aki

Unlucky. The damning image he gave referee Nic Berry was to be moving upwards when shoulder to head contact ended Ulipano Seuteni’s game. That was the lack of mitigation that almost certainly ends his World Cup. Rating: 4

Bundee Aki was shown a straight red card in the first half against Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Bundee Aki was shown a straight red card in the first half against Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Jacob Stockdale

Still below standards set in 2018 - when he rained down tries - but only needs to show up one time to eradicate any worries. A spectacular try will be needed to push Ireland into a semi-final. Rating: 5

Johnny Sexton

Well well. The world player of the year arrives at the World Cup. Snatched two fine tries to bank the bonus point before the interval but his trademark loop has become a liability, as Alapati Leiua’s heavy contact - ready and waiting to smash him - proved. Rating: 8

Conor Murray

The real Conor Murray just stood up. Recovered from an early knock to control the game but it was that sumptuous cut out pass for Larmour’s try that confirmed it. Primed to repeat the Soldier Field career performance. Rating: 7

Conor Murray tackles Samoa captain Jack Lam. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty
Conor Murray tackles Samoa captain Jack Lam. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty

Cian Healy

Somebody had to suffer close in punishment and the veteran loosehead dove into the furnace over and over again. Nine rough and tumble carries for nine metres gained. Rating: 7

Rory Best

What a night for the 37-year-old try scorer. After all the concerns about his ability to guide Ireland where they have never been before - as he has already done with victory over New Zealand - he has engineered one last epic stand, probably against All Blacks, next weekend. Rating: 6

Captain Rory Best has steered Ireland into a RWC quarter-final. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty
Captain Rory Best has steered Ireland into a RWC quarter-final. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty

Tadhg Furlong

Stunning 44 minutes from the Lions tighthead. Before the try he was fleet footed and confrontational in equal measure but to slip and serve four Samoans was Roy Of The Rovers stuff. National treasure. Rating: 8

Iain Henderson

Not as prominent as Ryan and Beirne but he carried when needed and ran the lineout with authority in what was a true secondrow shift worthy of this elite stage. Rating: 7

James Ryan

There is no limit to how high this man can soar. Added a new dimension to his play with a commanding defensive lineout coupled with all the other alpha attributes before being sat down when the game was won. Rating: 8

Tadhg Beirne

Arrival performance as a Test match blindside. Useful in the lineout but it was the rucking and carrying that kept Ireland motoring. Ideal impact sub come the knockout rounds. Rating: 7

Tadhg Beirne impressed for Ireland from blindside flanker. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty
Tadhg Beirne impressed for Ireland from blindside flanker. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty

Josh van der Flier

Super athlete, making 10 tackles, who has proven his worth but perhaps he can better serve Ireland as a 50-minute impact sub when most of the heavyweight collisions have subsided. Rating: 6

CJ Stander

How is he still alive!? Needs to be frozen in carbonite after an astonishingly torturous ball carrying display (22 carries for 29 metres) from the Irish player who has now played the most minutes in Japan. Rating: 8

Bench

There was even a Peter O’Mahony turnover. Like clockwork, a jaded looking Furlong, Sexton, Best and then Murray were put on ice as Andrew Porter and Joey Carbery got much needed exposure. Finally, on 56 minutes, Ryan and Healy made way for Jean Kleyn and Dave Kilcoyne. Rating: 7

Coach

Back on track. This has been as testing a fortnight for coach Schmidt, coach Farrell and coach Easterby as they have ever known (and that’s saying something). The strategy was precise, the defence menacing and solid, with the lineout suddenly well-oiled. Rating: 7

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