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Dublin: 16°C Saturday 8 May 2021

Westerners best in our Ireland v Canada player ratings

In between clashes with the All Blacks, a much-changed Ireland side ran out convincing winners over Canada.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND WON THEIR second November Test with a 52 – 21 victory over Canada. Here’s what we thought of the individual performances.

Tiernan O’Halloran: 9

Delivered a try of immense class just when Ireland needed a lift out of a scrap. His smooth movement and distribution throughout gave Ireland opportunities to raid. Almost capped it all by saving a try by attempting to trap the ball on Matt Evans’ chest. Second try made him a clear man of the match from our vantage point. Must start at least one of the next two Tests.

Craig Gilroy: 5

On second viewing we’re sure to see some technical excellence, but it just didn’t flow Gilroy’s way tonight. Struggled to get involved after chipping some early ball beyond defenders. Involved in some tidy passing in narrow channels and his agility always makes him difficult to tie down in contact.

Garry Ringrose: 7

Disallowed a dream debut try, but functioned well in a brand new midfield partnership that was focused on getting off-the-ball details correct first and foremost. Showed a hunger for tackling throughout, made a big break shortly after half-time and when it came time to make a killer pass, he delivered O’Halloran’s second try.

Luke Marshall: 6

Scored one, and gave one straight back when a pass was picked off by DTH van der Merwe. Gives a very different quality to the midfield than Robbie Henshaw. A good night’s work in defence with 10 tackles, but wasn’t able to show off his passing skills in attack.

Keith Earls: 8

Scored the opening try after two minutes and looked sharp even before that. His inside-out step in the lead-up to Luke Marshall’s try was sensational and he popped up with telling passes and solid hits throughout.

Andy Farrell talks to Paddy Jackson during the warm up Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Paddy Jackson: 8

Looked completely focused on the job at hand, his distribution was impeccable and didn’t have an easy conversion to hit until the second half.

Kieran Marmion: 8

We expected Marmion to look perfectly comfortably despite this being his first international start and he was. Passing was fluid all night and sniped brilliantly to draw Lucas Rumball his way before giving Earls an easy opener.

Cian Healy: 7

Four of the tight five were on the field in Chicago last week and again tonight, Healy looked a cut above early on with some bulldozing carries. Took a shot to the side of his knee midway through first half and his impact was limited after that.

Sean Cronin: 8

Always impressive in open play, but got a chance to show more depth to his game tonight, flicking on passes to keep back-line moves going and even unleashing a cultured left boot to clear his lines in the first half.

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Finlay Bealham: 8

Scrummaged very well when introduced against New Zealand last weekend, but kicked in to overdrive for 47 excellent minutes tonight. Put in thunderous hits to rock Canadians on their heels and then delivered a sumptuous offload so that his Connacht team-mate O’Halloran could cut in on a brilliant angle on his way to Ireland’s third try.

Ultan Dillane is tackled Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ultan Dillane: 8

Scored a deserved try to finally kill off Canada after paving the way with his own carries.

Dillane is destructive in contact with and without the ball, but gaps in Canada’s defensive line gave us a sight to behold as the Kerryman opened his stride to make 35 metre first-half break.

Billy Holland: 7

Provided a good balance to allow go be his Dillane’s all-action self with a solid night’s work. Wasn’t required to pull up trees as the game flowed freely enough. Ireland persisted with the scrum more often than the tried and trusted line-out.

Peter O’Mahony, Aaron Carpenter and Marius van der Westhuizen at the coin toss Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Peter O’Mahony: 7

Didn’t get much change out of his interactions with the ref, but led the side by example with some effective breakdown work. As always, delivered some textbook tackling and his six passes show his attempts to link play in tight spaces.

Sean O’Brien: 8

He’s back! O’Brien reintroduced himself to international rugby with two big carries around his own 22, the second of which was adorned with an outrageous offload. He made a total of 13 carries on the night and every one aided his team in push back Canada.

Jack O’Donoghue: 7

Always going to overshadowed by the big names either side of him, but the Waterford man was destructive on defensive breakdowns and worked manfully trhroughout by taking on carries close to the rucks and turning them in to yards.

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