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Dublin: 14°C Saturday 31 October 2020

How we rated Ireland on a disappointing day in Twickenham

It was a game of two halves, but the difference wasn’t stark enough to get Ireland back in the winner’s enclosure.

IRELAND PUT IN an alarmingly poor first half display against England and were left to taste defeat for the second time in seven days despite a decent second half rally.

Here’s how we marked Ireland out of 10.

Simon Zebo: 7

Out-jumped for England’s second try, but otherwise this was another decent outing for Zebo at fullback. His hands are a good addition to attacking moves and his left boot is welcome as an option to clear lines.

Tommy Bowe: 4

This was not the performance of the Bowe Ireland fans have come to love. The wing looked to be struggling for fitness early on as he missed crucial tackles and embarked on aimless chase kicks. Was better in the second period, but must be very disappointed with his day.

Jared Payne: 7

A solid fixture in Ireland’s midfield now. Always a willing carrier and did so with purpose and strength from first minute to last.

Robbie Henshaw: 6

Powerful as ever when Ireland needed a straightforward carrying option. Missed an excellent chance to counter-strike England when he tossed a pass forward to Zebo.

Dave Kearney: 8

England focused their attacks on the other wing, but Kearney still made himself known in defence with some timely reads before some bright looking cameos in attack.

Johnny Sexton: 6

Was rarely able to impose himself on the game with the pressure of England’s line-speed. Kicking off the tee was good, but out of hand he misjudged.

Eoin Reddan: 6

On as a 15th minute replacement for the concussed Conor Murray. He looked a tad sluggish in his covering run on May’s disallowed try and his box kicks were too often out of reach for his chasers.

Jack McGrath, Sean OÕBrien, Simon Zebo and Jonathan Sexton Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

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Jack McGrath: 7

Played his part in a very promising looking Ireland scrum and was also fronting up to make hard yards on the rare first-half occasions Ireland sought to build patiently.

Rory Best: 6

A frustrating 80 minutes at the line-out, but his work around the field in the second half was excellent. Never more so than the precision clear-out to give Paul O’Connell quick ball to get over the try-line.

Mike Ross: 7

Another defiant day of scrummaging from the Leinster tight-head. We go to Twickenham expecting to get driven off the ball but more often than not the green set-piece was solid.

Devin Toner: 6

Good in the line-out, but probably needed a bigger day after Iain Henderson’s heroics last weekend.

Paul O’Connell: 8

Typical of the man to get a rare score when Ireland needed it most. His drive off the quick ball provided by Best is the reason he is an inspirational leader.

Peter O’Mahony: 7

Fought manfully against the home side’s momentum, some dutiful carries and his usual consistent efforts around the breakdown.

Sean O’Brien: 6

A very quiet day by his standards, wasn’t able to make his presence felt on the ground with Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw dominating the breakdown when Heaslip wasn’t.

Jamie Heaslip: 7

Had a terrific second half on the ground, a huge influence as Ireland attempted to turn the tide.

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The42 Team

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