Irish player ratings: Ireland 28 Scotland 8

Rob Kearney rolls back the years, as young James Ryan backs up his growing reputation

Out half Jonathan Sexton says that Ireland need to take their chance at a Grand Slam "with both hands" as England loss to France confirms Ireland as Six Nations champions.

 

15 Rob Kearney

Awarded man-of-the-match for his performance, it wasn’t without error but it was an excellent display in the main; two clean breaks, three defenders beaten and very good in the air. Rating: 8.

14 Keith Earls

He was incredibly sharp in possession and the only tiny cavil will be that he didn’t get enough ball because with the modicum he did he invariably breached the first line of defenders, beating five in total. Rating: 7.

13 Garry Ringrose

Given where he’s come from an injury perspective this season, it was a sensational performance in attack, ripping the Scottish defence to shreds, beating tacklers at will; he was Ireland’s cutting edge. Rating: 8.

12 Bundee Aki

He was a willing carrier, often into multiple tacklers and he protected the ball intelligently with good footwork and strength. He helped to shunt Conor Murray over for a try. Rating: 7

11 Jacob Stockdale

He recovered from an early missed tackle to produce the two moments that defined the first half of the match, intercepting Peter Horne’s pass for a try and grabbing a second with lovely footwork. Rating: 7

10 Johnny Sexton

A curate’s egg of a performance, good in spots, his punting lacked its usual accuracy and he’d like a ‘take two’ with some of his decision making but carried and tackled with his usual commitment. Rating: 6

9 Conor Murray

Took his try superbly and apart from a loose box-kick here and there that drifted a little too far, he brought his usual industry and canny game management: covered in defence very well. Rating: 7

Keith Earls celebrates after the match with his daughters Ella May and Laurie . Photograph: Tom Honan/Irish Times
Keith Earls celebrates after the match with his daughters Ella May and Laurie . Photograph: Tom Honan/Irish Times

1 Cian Healy

He carried the ball with great ferocity and into the heaviest traffic in terms of blue shirts, making one superb surge, but was largely well marshalled. Rating: 6

2 Rory Best (capt)

He worked hard at the breakdown and in defence, had the bottle to go to touch with a couple of penalties the second of which paid off. Rating: 6.

3 Tadhg Furlong

A couple of typically muscular surges leaving blue jerseys festooned on the ground and given where he’s come from in terms of his hamstring injury, this was a laudable contribution. Rating: 6

4 James Ryan

He is a phenomenal athlete and this was reflected in his ability to maintain a high level of performance through the 80-minutes including a team leading 13 tackles, 15 carries and two lineout steals. Rating: 8

5 Devin Toner

He varied the Irish throw, trying to bamboozle the Scots and while a couple went astray it was a decent platform. One great carry of 12 in total saw him emerge on the other side from traffic. Rating: 6.

6 Peter O’Mahony

His industry on both sides of the ball was hugely impressive, whether chasing back to make important tackles, making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown or carrying ball. Rating: 7

7 Dan Leavy

The Scots were well primed to try and minimise his influence but he still managed to slow their ball down at times, worked hard to defend as well as tackle. Rating: 7

8 CJ Stander

He was typically diligent in both attack and defence but was well chaperoned by the Scots who looked to quickly chop him down in the tackle. He was another to front up in defence. Rating: 6.

Replacements:

Jordi Murphy out in a storming performance off the bench while Jack McGrath was another who caught the eye particularly when Ireland were looking to control possession and carry around the fringes. Sean Cronin grabbed a try while Iain Henderson and Andrew Porter added value too. The replacement backs didn’t get much latitude to show their attacking prowess. Rating: 7

Head coach:

Joe Schmidt devised a game-plan and there were some lovely training ground variations that might have yielded a couple of tries. His team found the game a little sticky early on because of the error-rate but took enough chances in the end. There’s plenty to do ahead of Twickenham but it’s important to enjoy the victory, imperfections and all. Rating: 7.

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