Six Nations 2015: Ireland player ratings

How Ireland’s players rated in today’s 19-9 win over England

15 Rob Kearney

A couple of loose kicks aside he was the personification of calm collection under the high ball and that infuses confidence in those around you. Rating: 7

14 Tommy Bowe

He caught restarts, chased high ball with purpose and carried aggressively on a meagre diet. Put down one inside pass that wasn’t particularly sympathetic. Rating: 7


13 Jared Payne

It's only when you scrutinise those little cameos that his acumen and awareness shines through. He invariably makes a few yards from nothing and shut down Jonathan Joseph. Rating: 7

12 Robbie Henshaw

He took his try superbly, demonstrating great presence of mind to catch and ground the ball in one movement. Carried powerfully, hit hard in a top notch performance. Rating: 8

11 Simon Zebo

He took England’s kick-off, their next two re-starts, and won Jonathan Sexton’s first drop-out in a fine aerial display. Rating: 7

10 Jonathan Sexton

He kicked five from six attempts with the placed ball and while one or two of his ‘bombs’ drifted a little long, his tactical kicking was generally of a high order. He tackled big too; excellent display. Rating: 8

9 Conor Murray

His box-kicking was largely sumptuous, summed up with the delicate lob that led to the Ireland try. His passing was long, crisp and fast, his general play outstanding. He should have received the bottle of bubbly. Rating: 9

1 Jack McGrath

There was a great deal spoken about the England scrum beforehand but while managing to negate the onslaught he kept up his typically voracious work ethic. Rating: 8

2 Rory Best

He was absolutely brilliant at the breakdown in terms of pinching a turnover or two or else slowing down English ball. He tackled like a dervish and was note perfect out of touch. Rating: 9

3 Mike Ross

He put a muzzle on Joe Marler at scrum time and barely let his opponent breathe as he won the battle in that facet of the game. It gave Ireland a huge platform. Rating: 8

4 Devin Toner

His crucial steal on the England throw inside the Ireland 22 in the first half was a pivotal moment in the game. He enjoyed a very fine game. Rating: 8

5 Paul O’Connell (capt)

It’s the sheer industry in his performance that is the most striking thing. He was conspicuous in terms of the tackle count (10) and also in pressuring the English lineout. Rating: 8

6 Peter O’Mahony

Apart from one penalty, it was a virtually blemish free performance, choc-full of hard graft. He was joint top ball carrier (11) and covered a huge expanse of the pitch in shutting down England ball carriers. Rating: 8

7 Sean O’Brien/Tommy O’Donnell

O’Brien was only on for 24 minutes before having to retire with a head injury so we’ll rate his performance along with that of Tommy O’Donnell, who had a super game at the breakdown and in defence (13 tackles) Rating: 8

8 Jordi Murphy

He got through a huge workload and was accurate and precise at rucks and also used his feet very effectively in taking ball into contact. He won three lineouts too. Rating: 8

Replacements: Leaving Tommy O'Donnell out, they didn't have the same sort of impact - Cian Healy aside - some were limited by time others struggled to get to the pace and intensity of the game at that point. Rating: 6

Joe Schmidt: He continues to prepare his team to win matches, identifying opposition weaknesses and formulating an effective and winning game plan. Rating: 8

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer