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Image: James Crombie/INPHO

How we rated Ireland in their ferocious win over France

That was tense.
Oct 11th 2015, 6:43 PM 22,101 79

HERE’S THE MATCH report of Ireland’s Pool D decider against France. And here’s how we rated Joe Schmidt’s men.

Rob Kearney: 8

With Ireland choosing to run the ball more often than kick it, it was a quiet opening half for the fullback, but he used the saved energy to brilliant effect, charging at Freddy Michalak for a 50th minute try.

Tommy Bowe: 8

More than justified his place in the team. Back to his excellent best. A terrific athlete  int he kick-chase and a strong presence in the wide rucks. Appeared to time his pass perfectly on his first half break into the 22…

Keith Earls: 6

That dropped pass. It shook his confidence for a few minutes afterwards. Struggled to make a dent in the hefty French bodies at ruck time, but most certainly never shirked any tackle or task.

Robbie Henshaw: 8

Created the opening for Bowe’s break and Earls’ drop and was then the catalyst that led to Kearney’s try. Very sharp in the carry with superb footwork that made him a difficult tackle for any blue shirt.

Dave Kearney: 6

Barely put a foot wrong, but was short on work for the opening half, but found more space and opportunity to go chasing ball.

Ian Madigan: 7

Thrown in to the deep end in the 27th minute when Sexton hobbled off and he was well able to swim. His confidence shone through when running set moves, but made some curious decisions and poor kicks when the play developed or broke down. Few in the world can claim to rival his standard of goal-kicking.

Conor Murray: 9

Assumed the extra responsibility after Sexton’s departure, directing traffic well with good variation of passes on ruck ball that came to him at varying speed. Used his head to dot the try against the post.

The Ireland team huddle before the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Cian Healy: 6

After conceding the first scrum penalty he was guilty of some poor carrying choices.

Rory Best: 9

Brilliantly immovable at ruck time and carried manfully against a solid big blue wall. Topped it all off with some brilliant tackles in the loose.

Mike Ross: 8

Another enormous effort from the big man, solid in the srum and always a willing carrier when Ireland needed secure ball.

Devin Toner: 8

A tower at the line-out and galloped around the park to chase down Frenchmen.

Paul O’Connell: 6

Brilliant as ever, but unfortunately the agonising sight of him writhing on the field was tough to take for every Irish fan or anyone who has had the pleasure to watch him play.

Peter O’Mahony: 8

Forced a brilliant early turnover and was soon choking the French maul. A brilliant way to set the tone. Left the field injured after already emptying the tank.

Sean O’Brien: 10

An out and out tiger in defence and made this game a nightmare for any French attacker. Made one absolutely crucial read in first half when France attacked wide with Sexton down. Sensational line-speeed. Perfect hit. We hope the citing commissioner tuned in late.

Jamie Heaslip: 8

The usual stuff from Ireland’s excellent workhorse. Terrific at the breakdown providing the muscle for Ireland.

Replacement

Iain Henderson: 6

Stepped in to some very big shoes and wore them like an old pair of slippers.

As it happened: Ireland v France, Rugby World Cup

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