Here's how we rated Ireland as they ground out victory against France

Jamie Heaslip and CJ Stander led the tackle count, but who was your man of the match?

IRELAND CLAIMED THEIR second win of this year’s Six Nations with a 19  - 9 victory over France. You’ll find the full match report here. Here’s how we graded Joe Schmidt’s men on a sliding scale of 1 -10.

Rob Kearney: 5

Stepped badly by Serin early on and, with France opting not to kick much ball away, was afforded very few chances to contribute in attack. Forced off after 50 minutes through injury.

Keith Earls: 7

Always bright with the ball in hand and provided one of the few counter-attacking sparks. Was unfortunate the bounce evaded him when chasing a loose Sexton kick towards the corner in the first half.

Garry Ringrose: 8

Garry Ringrose with Louis Picamoles Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Showed up eager for work even when the collective unit was struggling. 13 first-half carries helped Ireland steady the ship and pile pressure on Les Bleus, but it was his clear-out work (albeit aided by Sean O’Brien) which really made the difference for Ireland as it paved the way for Conor Murray’s try.

Robbie Henshaw: 7

Trojan work-rate from the centre, providing an excellent foil for Ringrose while disrupting French attacks with his relentless energy.

Simon Zebo: 7

A mix of the sublime and ridiculous from Zebo, but nothing wrong with a bit of added excitement. Committed a horrendous error when trying to cover a kick to his own try-line that left his side under pressure. Seemed to keep finding team-mates in his way when attacking late in first half, but he always lights up at fullback and was unfortunate his excellent handling in attack didn’t result in a try.

Jonathan Sexton: 7

No other out-half would have dared quick-tap that kickable first-half, but Sexton has the license and the credit in the Schmidt bank to try (and fail) such moves without fear.

A view of Jonathan Sexton's jersey Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

His return from injury began as slowly as the team around him, but the trademark wraps were executed with more intent by supporting players when he is at the helm. His drop-goal and ball-striking in general was sublime. Generally chose the right passing options and his running threat drew more French defenders to free up space for men outside him.

Conor Murray: 9

Another masterclass. Visibly injected pace into the game after Ireland emerged from their incredibly sluggish opening 20 minutes. And his team-mates followed that lead to build pressure and create his opportunity. His influence grows with his confidence.

Jack McGrath: 7

Under severe pressure in early scrums, but continued to make his presence felt through his tackle count and his work in the maul.

Rory Best: 8

Some questionably early calls to forego penalties and seek out tries were ultimately justified. Returned from illness to give Ireland valuable solidity and confidence at the set-piece.

Tadhg Furlong: 7

Coped well on his side of the scrum, but France were well-warned about this carrying threat and there was always trouble waiting for the big Wexford man.

Donnacha Ryan and Jack McGrath tackle Guilhem Guirado Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

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Donnacha Ryan: 8

The more you see him thrive in this competition, the greater the regret that he wasn’t brought in to the matchday squad for the opening day in Scotland. Brings an anger to every single ruck and a grizzled refusal to lose in the contact area.

Devin Toner: 8

Ran a tight ship at the line-out and managed to disrupt the French set-piece at times. Continued his push for a starting Lions jersey with his priceless consistency.

CJ Stander: 9

Another outstanding showing from the Munster man. Stood up when Ireland needed somebody to carry them forward. Never far from Sexton’s shoulder, seeking balls to take him over the gainline. He’s making the 20-carry mark feel almost average these days.

Sean O’Brien: 8

The highlight reel plays are harder to come by when CJ Stander is around, but O’Brien remains one of Ireland’s most important players. His breakdown work, thankless carries and solid tackles helped to ensure France ran out of steam in their attempt to set the physical standards.

Jamie Heaslip: 8

Joined Stander at the top of the tackle count in the end (both with 11), but it was an early impact that was probably the game’s most important. After Serin stepped clear in Ireland’s 22, Heaslip’s scramble tackle denied Les Bleus an almost certain try.

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