Scotland 27 Ireland 22: Irish player ratings
On a disappointing day for Irish rugby, John O’Sullivan looks at how Joe Schmidt’s players performed individually
How did the Irish players rate in the defeat to Scotland? Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
15 Rob Kearney
One misplaced pass and a rare collective communication issue for the back three in defence - but positives far outweigh the negatives on the day when his breaks and a huge try saving tackle were among the high points of the Irish performance.
14 Keith Earls
He crossed for a try and showed some nifty footwork but he was caught too narrow defensively at times, missed a tackle or two and had a sliced clearance in a fitful display. It must be acknowledged that the execution in the Irish back play was shockingly poor in general terms.
13 Garry Ringrose
He struggled to shut down the wider channel in the first half, went for an intercept and slipped but in the second half his rush defence forced some Scottish handling errors; a massive learning experience.
12 Robbie Henshaw
Arguably Ireland’s best player over the 80-minutes both in terms of his tackling/defence and taking dreadfully static ball over the gain-line: a huge physical exertion.
11 Simon Zebo
Mixed the excellent (footwork) with the sloppy once or twice and unusually looked a little leggy at times, lacking his normal sharp acceleration but the pedestrian back play didn’t give him much chance and he made metres virtually every time.
10 Paddy Jackson
He played a little deep in the first half but excelled in the second 40-minutes with lovely variation and little touches, taking his try well and giving Ireland the direction they so badly lacked in the first half. The late penalty was rendered immaterial when Ireland conceded another.
9 Conor Murray
Well below his lofty standards, his kicking was loose, he was a little slow to the rucks on occasion and made some untypical errors, but he wasn’t helped by the ponderous speed of ruck ball.
1 Jack McGrath
The scrum excelled and he won one of three penalties but he didn’t make his usual impact around the pitch. There is no doubting his work-rate and willingness to carry and tackle but a less high profile contribution.
2 Rory Best
Too many lineout turnovers and that’s a unit skill but he will feel partially responsible and be livid to concede such a soft try to a centre at a lineout. Industrious and serious tackle count but not at his most effective.
3 Tadhg Furlong
Absolutely superb game in every aspect, forcing too early scrum penalties and giving Ireland dominance and also in the metres he made with his carrying often turning up two or three times in the one passage of play.
4 Iain Henderson
He was slightly anonymous in the first half an hour but then normal service was resumed in terms of his profile in positive involvement. His footwork normally gets him further but was well policed. A try won’t soften the pain much.
5 Devin Toner
He was the main target for Ireland in the lineout and will take some responsibility for the malfunctions. He always works hard but was often double teamed and driven back.
6 CJ Stander
A quiet start to the match before getting into the game, he carried with typical abrasiveness but the Scots were ready and given he doesn’t look to pass before contact they simply waited for him in numbers. Never gave up in spirit or application.
7 Sean O’Brien
One of the few players who managed to punch some holes in the excellent Scottish defence, using power and footwork; might have looked for an offload in the second half but it’s a minor cavil in a fine display.
8 Jamie Heaslip
Unusually penalised on a couple of occasions, he was one of the few Irish players to stand up and be counted when things were going awry in the first half but energy levels began to fade. Shouldn’t have gone for the offload but that’s the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
Replacements: Individually and collectively they didn’t have the impact that might have been expected, albeit acknowledging the extra energy they brought. Rating: 4
Coach: Joe Schmidt will be really disappointed with the first half. The speed of the ruck ball was ponderous, the one-out runners predictable and easily defended, the back play was too deep and lateral, and then having taken the lead, cheap, silly mistakes coughed up possession, territory and the result: a horrible afternoon performance wise and several selection decisions ahead of Rome. Rating: 6