Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Ratings
Out of 10: How we rated Schmidt's Ireland in their historic win over the Boks
Ireland were superb in a 26-20 victory at Newlands Stadium.

14-MAN IRELAND beat South Africa 26-20 in Cape Town to secure their first-ever win against the Boks on South African soil.

Read our match report here

Jared Payne: 9

Jared Payne scores a try Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Those who had been waiting for the Ulsterman to line out at 15 for Ireland were not disappointed. The 30-year-old was all class, showing his offloading ability and allowing Ireland to be a threat even with 14 men. Crucial first-half try.

Andrew Trimble: 8

The usual mixture of thumping hits and powerful carries from the Ulster wing. His composure and experience were certainly important in that second half, as he chased hard repeatedly when Ireland kicked.

Robbie Henshaw: 8

Saw yellow for a high tackle on Elton Jantjies in the first half. Otherwise, he was a workhorse for Ireland, hammering into tackles and carrying dynamically. At 22, he now looks like a mature Test centre.

Luke Marshall: 9

The Ulster midfielder’s return to Test rugby was hugely successful, with his delightful grubber allowing Payne to score Ireland’s opening try. Looked completely at ease in Cape Town and worked well with Jackson and Henshaw either side of him.

Keith Earls: 8

The Munster man was as muscular as the rest of the Ireland team, even if the action didn’t always flow his way in this game. Like Trimble, he is an assuring presence in the backline, which was so important with a new-look midfield.

Paddy Jackson: 9

No Johnny Sexton, no problem. Jackson was mentally strong as he ran the game for Ireland, kicking out of hand and off the tee superbly. He was picked off by Peter-Steph du Toit for a South Africa try but otherwise he was flawless. Muscular in defence.

Conor Murray: 9

Conor Murray on the attack Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Murray would be rated 10 but for a slow start. His effect on this game is hard to stress enough. His defensive performance genuinely compensated for the loss of CJ Stander to a red card in the first half. His finest Ireland display.

Jack McGrath: 8

There’s never really any doubt around McGrath’s performance level these days; he almost always delivers. Again, he looked like a world-class loosehead in this game. His mobility and fitness are huge for Ireland, while his set-piece work is always strong.

Rory Best: 9

The captain had some tough days during the Six Nations after taking over from Paul O’Connell but he now has his big achievement as Ireland leader. No other Ireland captain has won on South African soil against the Boks. Every action was impactful.

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Mike Ross: 8

Like McGrath, he is a proven performer for Joe Schmidt. There’s a reason the Kiwi head coach consistently backs the veteran tighthead and he turned up the work rate once again to help drive Ireland to victory.

Devin Toner: 9

“That’s for Dad,” said Toner after being awarded the man-of-the-match award in Newlands. Pure class from the Leinster second row as he acknowledged the recent passing of his father. His display was all abrasive class too.

Iain Henderson: 9

Iain Henderson on the attack Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

How Ireland have missed the destructive Ulsterman. He led the choke tackle tactics with impressive effect and consistently ensured Ireland won the collisions throughout. He is built for Test rugby and looked to love facing the lauded Boks.

CJ Stander: 6

Red carded controversially before he could have any major impact on the game. A handful of strong carries early on.

Jordi Murphy: 9

Murphy had many, many doubters coming into this contest but he answered them in some style. A number of thumping tackles, some aggressive carries and a range of other work-rate duties, he utterly rewarded Schmidt’s faith.

Jamie Heaslip: 9

A leader by example. The number eight encapsulated the entire Irish performance – resilient, powerful, intelligent and totally composed. Even when he was part of a 13-man team, Heaslip looked like he expected to win. Influential mindset.

Replacements: 8

Schmidt waited to unleash his replacements and kept Kieran Marmion, Ian Madigan and Finlay Bealham off the pitch. Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong [some superb scrum work], Ultan Dillane, Rhys Ruddock and Craig Gilroy all aided the cause.

Coaches: 10

Joe Schmidt’s greatest achievement yet with Ireland. This will go down in Irish rugby history, a stunning win. Andy Farrell’s impact on Ireland was obvious too, with the defence superb throughout. Simon Easterby’s pack was immense, while Greg Feek’s scrum was excellent. Richie Murphy’s influence on the skills and kicking told too.

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Red card be damned! Incredible Irish effort earns first-ever win in South Africa

Ireland start second half as they mean to go on with Conor Murray try

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