Ireland 71 USA 10: How the Irish players rated

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks on the final day of a long season for Ireland

15 Hugo Keenan

His reading of the game was once again first class, good instincts, good habits and an awareness of everything that's going on around him. The try was a fitting reward for another fine performance in a superb breakthrough season. Rating: 7.

14 Robert Baloucoune

Settled into the game with a good highball take and then showed why everyone's excited by his potential, accelerating through a gap veered one way, back against the grain, inside and out on a superb arcing run for a try. He's a game breaker. Rating: 7

13 James Hume

His footwork, balance, speed and ability to commit multiple defenders allow him to break the line or put others in space, while his ability to size up the opposing defence and find gaps is excellent; an assured debut. Rating: 7

12 Stuart McCloskey

He played to his strengths in taking the ball into contact and occupying several tacklers while always looking to play the ball out of the tackle; took responsibility for kick-offs too and marked the occasion with a try while creating another for Keenan. Rating: 7

11 Andrew Conway

Several lovely touches including a lovely dab through and re-gather in the build-up to Rónan Kelleher's second try. He was lively and effective before being replaced at the interval. Rating: 6

10 Joey Carbery

Glimpses that his game is returning, some nice footwork and a nice range of passing while his place-kicking was excellent, albeit under minimal pressure for the most part. He needs to be more robust in the tackle or perhaps a little clever in terms of the point of contact. Rating: 6

9 Craig Casey

His kicking was first class and well judged, his speed to the breakdown and in getting the ball away impressive and matching his general decision-making in a high-quality display. He injected tempo into Ireland's patterns. Rating: 8

1 Dave Kilcoyne

Normal service resumed in terms of his carrying, direct and powerful through the contact and giving his team positive gainlines. He put in some big tackles too before being replaced early in the second half. Rating: 6

2 Rónan Kelleher

There's a strong argument that the two early lineout turnovers weren't down to him as both passed through the jumper's hands. Four tries and another superb display in the loose, on both sides of the ball, underlined his quality as a rugby player: the official man-of-the-match. Rating: 8

3 Tom O’Toole

His clearing out at the breakdown and link play in terms of passing was first class, demonstrating impressive stamina given the huge volume of rucks in which he was either the first or second player on hand. Rating: 7

4 Ryan Baird

His athleticism and mobility are huge assets to any team as is his work-rate while his footwork and hands in and through contact mean that team-mates benefit from his graft in the collisions. Rating: 7

5: James Ryan (capt)

After a couple of lineout aberrations he settled into the rhythm of the game, took responsibility out of touch and then set about putting in his usual volume of work. Rating: 6

6 Caelan Doris

He did everything, most of it to a very high level, short of scoring a try that his general performance probably merited. Lineout steals, poaching, charge downs, linebreaks and just the odd errant pass. Rating: 7

7 Nick Timoney

His tackling was excellent, accurate and authoritative in putting big American carriers on the ground while his ability to link the play underlined his assured handling; celebrated a fine debut with a try. Rating: 7

8 Gavin Coombes

Celebrated his first start for Ireland in his second cap with a try and did exactly what was expected from him in terms of his power in the collisions; but there were other more subtle, lighter touches that were equally as impressive. Rating: 7


There were debuts off the bench for Harry Byrne, Caolin Blade, Fineen Wycherley and Paul Boyle, all of whom enjoyed a moment or two that will help them to treasure the occasion, against a USA side that were completely overwhelmed. It was nice to see Will Addison back and adding a couple of moments of class. Rating: 7


Andy Farrell won't get too carried away given the abject American performance including playing some of the game against 14 players but he'll be pleased to have had the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the playing roster – eight debutants – and confirming that there will be players to add value come the autumn. Rating: 7