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Player ratings: How Ireland fared in their Six Nations win over England

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland were 10/10 collectively.

IRELAND CONVINCINGLY BEAT England 19-9 at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.

Read our full match report here.

While it seems silly to reduce a collective performance that was 10/10 into individual scores, we’ve provided players ratings for each of the Irishmen involved in the excellent win.

Rob Kearney and Cian Healy celebrate Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Rob Kearney: 8

Underlined his status as a leader once again with a physical display. Made some thumping hits on the outside edge of Ireland’s defence, covering the backfield as well and opting to join the line at the ideal time.

Tommy Bowe: 7

Time and time again, Bowe makes Ireland’s kicking game as effective as it is. Played an important part in the aerial game as always, although two spills of the ball in the first half will have frustrated him.

Jared Payne: 7

The ideal partner for Robbie Henshaw, providing real solidity around the collisions. Carried on direct lines well, and chopped down any English attacks that were directed down his channel.

Robbie Henshaw: 9

Robbie Henshaw scores a try despite Alex Goode Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

This was Henshaw’s finest performance yet in a fledgling international career that promises so much. His pre-contact footwork is reminiscent of a Pacific Islander, helping him to eke out yards under the most intense pressure.

Made superb reads in defence, following them with excellent shoulders into ball carrier, and took his try cleverly.

Simon Zebo: 9

It was Zebo’s dominant judo tackle on Anthony Watson that eventually led to Henshaw’s try, and that moment was typical of the left wing’s work rate. He chased, harried, fielded, tackled, reorganised, chased, covered, beat defenders, hassled and chased. Everything he did was full of energy and enthusiasm.

Johnny Sexton: 9

The out-half is a joy to watch in this Ireland team at present. Sexton is Schmidt’s brain on the pitch, and how reassuring it must be for the head coach to have such an imposing figure at 10. One of the best players in world rugby right now.

Conor Murray: 9

Conor Murray passes Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

The Munster scrum-half is composure personified, consistently making good decisions in a calm manner. Murray seems to have ice running through his veins, and here he directed Ireland around the pitch masterfully, kicking, running and passing with assuredness.

Jack McGrath: 8

Made several strong carries in defensive zones early on, helping Ireland to set up their exits well, while also contributing a handful of impactful tackles. Scrummaged well bar the penalty that allowed England back to 19-6 and remains fully deserving of his place as a starter.

Rory Best: 9

This was another good outing for the Ireland lineout overall and Best deserves credit for his part in that. Part of that strong scrum effort too, as well as adding his typical ferociousness at the breakdown and around the tackle.

Mike Ross: 8

Schmidt’s faith in the 34-year-old continues to be repaid bountifully, with Ross turning in another display full of solidity. He may not be the most explosive carrier, but puts his hand up to be involved. Pinned down Joe Marler impressively at scrum time.

Devin Toner: 8

The Ireland team stand for the National Anthem Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Another Schmidt favourite and here was another demonstration of exactly why. His lineout steal in the 23rd minute was a huge moment in this game, denying England a crucial attacking opportunity. Had one knock-on in the lineout, but Toner is so key to Ireland’s set-piece success.

Paul O’Connell: 9

Where Paulie goes, Ireland follow. The legendary lock was among the top tacklers as usual, while contributing handsomely to the set-piece with his intelligent calling. The penalty against Ireland when defending an England maul in the first half will have him on video analysis duty tonight, but he handled referee Craig Joubert superbly.

Peter O’Mahony: 8

Didn’t quite get to grips with the breakdown as he would have hoped, and was frustrated to concede the penalty for England to draw themselves to 19-9 when not supporting his body weight. Very busy as a ball carrier though, and tackled firmly.

Sean O’Brien: 7

Sean OÕBrien injured Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A wild pass early on saw Ireland miss a brilliant counter-attacking chance, but blasted into contact with ball in hand. The hope will be that his head injury does not rule him out of Cardiff in two weekends time.

Jordi Murphy: 8

Stepped in for Jamie Heaslip in convincing fashion, smashing any doubts that he would not match England’s back row power. Particularly evident at the breakdown, winning a clever penalty on 32 minutes, having conceded one shortly before.

Replacements:

Sean Cronin: not on long enough to rate

Cian Healy: 7

Came up with a dominant hit on Nick Easter to force a knock-on late in the game and generally added important energy at a time Ireland looked to be tiring.

Marty Moore: 6

Would have been hugely annoyed that Ireland conceded a penalty on his first scrum involvement. Around the pitch, he showed the mobility he possesses, particularly in defence.

Iain Henderson: 7

Play didn’t flow his way too often, but he shifted about the pitch comfortably and provided his typical dynamism in limited involvements.

Tommy O’Donnell: 8

Tommy OÕDonnell Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

There was some concern about the relative lack of experience in Ireland’s back row when Sean O’Brien was forced off, but O’Donnell provided real maturity. Powerful in the tackle and as hungry for work as his teammates, the Munster flanker had a superb impact.

Eoin Reddan: didn’t play

Ian Madigan: 7

Wasn’t afforded the opportunity to show his ability in attack very often as Ireland were forced to defend late on, but looked composed after replacing the injured Sexton. Completed his tackles effectively.

Felix Jones: not on long enough to rate

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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