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Dublin: -2 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Player ratings as Ireland see off Wales in Six Nations thriller

Chris Farrell and Keith Earls were consistently excellent in a topsy-turvy affair.

IRELAND EDGED OUT Wales in a thriller, picking up a bonus point along the way. You’ll find the full match report here, below are how we rated the hosts.

Rob Kearney: 6

Will have been frustrated by a first half of almost-breaks and carries where he got caught square by Welsh tacklers.

Raided on the right to make space for Earls in lead-up to game-defining Leavy try, but wasn’t in command of the aerial battle.

Keith Earls: 9

Another terrific day in green. The Limerick man relished every hint of an aerial contest and showed off electric footwork to burst away on landing to give Ireland a razor sharp cutting edge out wide. The visitors looked a hell of a lot more dangerous after his departure.

Chris Farrell: 9

A tremendous display from Farrell to soften the blow of losing Robbie Henshaw.

Josh Navidi, Chris Farrell and Aaron Shingler Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Set the tone for his performance right from the kick-off with a thundering hit on Liam Williams as he caught a high ball. Schmidt used him as an effective weapon on restarts and when asked to carry his handling was assured while his feet were sharp.

Bundee Aki: 6

Looked among the most frustrated of Ireland’s players during the first-half and will get a grilling from Schmidt and Hercules Aki about the early penalties conceded. However, he recovered well and grabbed a second international try that was eerily similar to his first – a powerful burst from short-range.

Jacob Stockdale: 7

Keeping up his prolific scoring rate with an eighth try in seven Tests. Came close to a terrific aerial steal on a cross-field kick that ended up in a knock-on. Was brave enough to shoot up and grab an intercept try as Wales pushed for late victory.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring their first try with Bundee Aki Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Johnny Sexton: 7

Ratings are never an exact science, but they’re also tough on kicking out-halves on days like this. Three early missed kicks were extremely uncharacteristic for Sexton. He made up for those lapses with an utterly extraordinary whipped pass to gift Stockdale the opening try and some cutting carries of his own.

Constantly under pressure with ball-in hand and found a few blind alleys, but for the most part remained calm to steer Ireland towards victory.

Conor Murray: 8

The usual from a class operator. Gorgous flat passing throughout and conducted the tempo for Ireland’s attacking trips to the Welsh 22. Capped it all with a penalty that gave Ireland just enough breathing space to close out the win.

Conor Murray jumps CJ Stander as he's tackled by Leigh Halfpenny Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Cian Healy: 8

Departed the field with 16 carries to his name. At the time, only CJ Stander did more to carry for Ireland in very heavy traffic. Maintained his side of the scrum nicely and showed his trademark power to secure the bonus point.

Rory Best: 7

Not a perfect day at the line-out, but the captain made his presence felt at the breakdown and added some of the tricks we expect from modern forwards with a sharp flick-on pass.

Andrew Porter: 7

Acquitted himself well in the scrum on his full Six Nations debut and always a powerful carrying threat in the loose. Will be disappointed by the manner in which he slipped off an assist tackle on Aaron Shingler in the lead-up to Wales’ opening try.

James Ryan: 6

Another display brimming with athletic physicality; unleashed a hard hit chasing ball in the Welsh 22 and ploughed through a host of carries.

Devin Toner: 7

Always a helpful target to have at line-out time and put in a terrific amount of ruck work as Ireland mounted their comeback before half-time.

Peter O’Mahony: 8

Another feisty outing from the Munster captain, getting through heaps of work around the fringes including an important leech on Cian Healy as he charged over for his try.

Dan Leavy: 8

Dan Leavy Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

More than played his part in forcing a massive increase in Welsh penalties after they gave away just two in Twickenham. Among his excellent contributions was a penalty won on 27 minutes when Alun Wyn Jones, on a sizeable run-up, was unable to get him off his feet.

CJ Stander: 7

The top carrier as usual, trucking into contact a massive 21 times and made his presence felt with some impressive clear-outs. His work-rate can often diminish his explosive power though and he looked a touch on the sluggish side when presented with a first-half break.

Griffin’s blistering try completes strong second half showing from Connacht

As it happened: Ireland v Wales, Six Nations

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