New Zealand 46 Ireland 14: Ireland player ratings

Gavin Cummiskey rates Schmidt’s side after their thrashing by the All Blacks in Tokyo

After a disappointing 46-14 loss to New Zealand, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt reflects on another quarter-final exit in a rugby world cup.

 

Rob Kearney

If this must be the end of a great international career - the most decorated Irish rugby player in history when we tally all the medals and accolades - then it is fitting that Kearney finishes on the highest stage. Covered well but, like everyone, smashed to smithereens by these All Blacks. Rating: 5

Keith Earls

The work rate of the man soars above all else at a World Cup when his scintillating ability with ball in handed needed to be on view, like it was in 2011. Not to be. No space. No time. No hope. Rating: 5

Garry Ringrose

Head busted open by Henshaw after four minutes when the centres combined to slow Ardie Savea, he returned to run hard and tackle like his life depended on it. Ireland were not wiped out in midfield but Jack Goodhue was the best centre on show. Rating: 5

Robbie Henshaw can’t prevent Jordie Barrett scoring a late try for the All Blacks. Photograph: Jae C HongAP
Robbie Henshaw can’t prevent Jordie Barrett scoring a late try for the All Blacks. Photograph: Jae C HongAP

Robbie Henshaw

Gutsy try considering he failed to ground the ball moments earlier and, like Ringrose, got patched up after the head clash to be combatative all the way to the bitter end. Rating: 5

Jacob Stockdale

Looked ready to show up with an early switch play before grabbing Sexton’s restart, but his marker Sevu Reece showed exactly what an elite winger looks like (The pass leading up to the All Blacks second try being a prime example). It’s a Fijian world cup. Rating: 5

Johnny Sexton

Ireland’s ageing but still best player knows how costly that line kick - which Richie Mo’unga kept in play - proved as it meant Ireland failed to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of these awesome opponents. Much as he fought, there was no way back. Rating: 4

Conor Murray loses the ball during Ireland’s defeat to the All Blacks. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty
Conor Murray loses the ball during Ireland’s defeat to the All Blacks. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty

Conor Murray

Part of the malaise, when it was essential he was close to perfect, like that famous day in Chicago, with uncharacteristic handling errors from the scrumhalf spreading like a virus through the team. Crushing to see Ireland’s supreme pace setter stuck in the mud. Rating 4

Cian Healy

Couldn’t get into the game like Ireland needed him and all the other veterans - the blindside aside - to do. Not at the tempo, nobody was, but it’s too much to expect Ireland’s greatest ever loosehead to rediscover his 2011 form. Those days are gone. Rating: 3

Rory Best

The All Blacks do not clap many men off the field but the hooker was the first and only Irish captain to have their number. Twice. His career is over now but he served the jersey better than most. Leadership is beyond reproach. Rating: 4

Tadhg Furlong

The coach talked about needing to be “nailed on” to avoid a 30-point hammering against New Zealand and perhaps Furlong’s brilliant display against Samoa was a mirage. Maybe he was one of several players Schmidt noted could barely train this week. Rating: 4

Iain Henderson

For Ireland to go beyond the quarter-final Ireland needed to avoid New Zealand. For Ireland to beat Japan, Henderson needed to be a dominant forward. Same as here, he wasn’t. He will be retained at lock but hasn’t earned the right to be compared with Ryan, O’Connell, O’Kelly or other great Irish locks. Rating: 3

James Ryan takes a lineout during Ireland’s defeat in Tokyo. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty
James Ryan takes a lineout during Ireland’s defeat in Tokyo. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty

James Ryan

The All Blacks denied him the usual double double figure statistics - he carried 14 balls for 19 metres and made nine tackles - with the sight of some last second work on him by the physio before kick-off giving the eagle eyed supporter plenty to worry about. Super World Cup nonetheless. Future captain, if not immediately following Best then surely come France 2023. Rating: 5

Peter O’Mahony

Superb when Ireland needed a hero, with two enormous turnovers when the score was 17-0, and then he ruined it when dropping the shoulder into an opponent’s backside inches from the New Zealand try line, perhaps caused by the frustration at black jerseys lying all over Irish ball. There ended any sliver of hope. Rating: 5

Josh van der Flier

Out classed by the Kiwi flankers and Kieran Read but leaves Japan with reputation intact. Still, it is impossible not to compare him to Sean O’Brien - the greatest ever Irish openside - and Dan Leavy, set to become O’Brien’s heir after the 2018 Grand Slam. Rating: 4

CJ Stander

The number of carries - 16 for 28 metres - and 18 tackles must be applauded. The real shame is his switch to blindside with Jack Conan being launched as a second ball carrying backrower never came to pass. Strong candidate for Ireland’s best forward at the tournament. Rating: 6

CJ Stander tackles George Bridge during Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty
CJ Stander tackles George Bridge during Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty

Bench

Nobody in their right mind is calling for Sexton and Murray to be removed - as Sexton suggested would happen - but Jordan Larmour and Joey Carbery will need to be given more game time for Ireland to move past this miserable season. Both showed well long after it mattered. Rating: 5

Coach

Schmidt’s strike plays were in the chamber but the team couldn’t unload any bullets. Was this the best 10 years Irish rugby will ever know or has he laid the groundwork for a permanent seat at the elite end of the global game? Over to Andy Farrell to find out. Rating: 6

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