Scotland 13 Ireland 22: Ireland player ratings

Business as usual for Peter O’Mahony as Ireland flanker stands out in Edinburgh

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony gets ready to go past Scotland’s Simon Berghan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony gets ready to go past Scotland’s Simon Berghan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

15. Rob Kearney - Positional masterclass makes him undroppable, but the resident Ireland fullback for over 10 years infuriatingly refuses to pass on the run, as proved on 46 minutes when Jacob Stockdale had already scored the try in his head. That’s presumably why Joe Schmidt will continue to expose Robbie Henshaw and even Will Addison to No.15 between now and Japan. Player rating: 7

14. Keith Earls - Outstanding. Felt he owed the team after a poor defensive read before being battered out of the England game, but the Limerick warrior owes nothing to anyone. Ran down Finn Russell after the Joey Carbery intercept and hammered Josh Strauss backwards as Scotland hunted a try before half-time. Player rating: 8

13. Chris Farrell - Turned over by Jamie Ritchie on 60 minutes to invite a Scottish revival. Otherwise, menacing on the gainline and maybe he’s a 12 to Garry Ringrose’s 13. Gets indirect assist for Murray try by harassing Tommy Seymour into error. Player rating: 6

12. Bundee Aki - Struggled in some early collisions - mainly because he seeks to mix with bigger bodies - but 14 tackles with a heap of pain taken and inflicted probably shelves any thoughts about putting him on ice for Italy. Player rating: 6

11. Jacob Stockdale - Ran a killer line for his try, but most impressive is the improved ability on the back foot when cleaning up chips and at least two vital tackles near Ireland’s try line. Player rating: 7

10. Johnny Sexton - Removed by a stamp, for blood treatment, and failed the Head Injury Assessment. Perilous excellence to create Stockdale’s try but is it worth the cost? After being smashed a third time on the gainline, his loss was felt within six minutes when Carbery was picked off by Russell but the 22 year old recovered, spectacularly so, when Sexton could not reappear. Player rating: 7

9. Conor Murray - Hints of nearing Murray levels of performance - a nicely stolen try - but his world class passing and kicking game, taken as guaranteed before the injury, are still missing. The timing is off. The weight of box kicks not there. Player rating: 5

Ireland props Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Ireland props Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

1. Cian Healy - Eight carries for 20 clogged metres and 12 tackles yet Jack McGrath is badly missed. Dave Kilcoyne, for all that honestly and eagerness, is not of the level to force Healy performances into the stratosphere. Good problem. Player rating: 7

2. Rory Best - Improvement from the England game with the scrum and lineout rock solid - no mean feat considering the turnover at lock - while communication with the tricky Romain Poite was quiet but firm. Player rating: 7

3. Tadhg Furlong - Huge shift, almost touching the 70 minute mark with eight tackles, 16 carries and one tinkle toed side step befuddling a navy man, and all the while locking the scrum. Deserves a few weeks of rest before France. Player rating: 8

4. James Ryan - Ireland’s key lineout figure - a title he’s expected to retain until the 2031 World Cup - with a vital leap to steal ball near the Irish line just before half-time. The worry is a constant need to run him for 80 minutes, but statistics do not lie: 14 carries, 15 tackles. Immense, again. Player rating: 8

5. Quinn Roux - Honest and powerful in equal measure for nine tackles and 14 big carries. A worthy stop gap until Iain Henderson returns for Ulster in the coming week or so. May sound harsh but Henderson and Tadhg Beirne are the gold standard in Ireland’s locking department. Player rating: 7

6. Peter O’Mahony - There he is - 13 carries covering a beautiful three metres of grass. The season of his life was stalled by English power in Dublin but he burrowed into the Scottish core, fracturing them and even showed a subtle hand in the Stockdale try. Player rating: 9

7. Seán O’Brien - Clearly unfit, his impacts were far from dominant; driven backwards in possession and unable to latch onto opposition ball like the greatest openside Irish rugby has ever known. Kept showing up and, ideally, only needs more games but rightly replaced by Josh van der Flier on 63 minutes. Player rating: 7

8. Jack Conan - Good carries off early scrums and topped Irish tackle count with 18 but he was out played in the Number Eight stakes by Josh Strauss. CJ Stander is not yet under pressure but Conan has earned another opportunity. Player rating: 8

Joey Carbery created Ireland’s third try. Photograph: Inpho
Joey Carbery created Ireland’s third try. Photograph: Inpho

Joe Schmidt - Serious decisions must be made about the old guard. Are they durable enough? Should he put those waiting in the wings into the fray quicker, so they are ready for sterner tests than these Scots. Rome is an opportunity, expect more changes. Player rating: 7

Replacements - Joey Carbery appeared to fluff his lines when intercepted by Russell but those magic dancing feet wriggled free on 55 minutes before he sensed the closing cover and spun a lovely pass to put Earls over. Nice late lineout steal by Ultan Dillane. John Cooney deserved more exposure. Player rating: 9

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