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Here's how we rated Ireland after a rollercoaster of a clash against Scotland

After battling back into a lead, Joe Schmidt’s men coughed up their advantage late on.

IRELAND GOT OFF to a losing start in the Six Nations despite battling back from 21 – 5 down against Scotland. Here’s how we rated Joe Schmidt’s men in green.

Cian Healy, Rory Best and Jamie Heaslip dejected Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Rob Kearney: 8

Definitely proved value for his selection as he stood up to be a leader as the senior man in the back-line. Coupled some great lines in attack with solid hits in defence.

Keith Earls: 7

Struggled when pinned back in the first-half, but worked relentlessly to help Ireland back into the game. His try was a prime example of his brilliant finishing prowess. The game seemed to drift away from Ireland after he was replaced.

Garry Ringrose: 6

The quietest game yet for the young tyro. Never got that terrific footwork and balance on display and was instead called upon mostly in defence, where he did well with 11 tackles.

Robbie Henshaw: 7

Another day of big carries for the Athlone man, but all too often they came with Ireland on the back foot and served to put the green shirts back to par.

Simon Zebo: 7

One of the brightest sparks in the first-half and his breakaway before the interval gave Ireland real hope. Not enough space to impress with the ball in hand and Scotland did well to turn him around at times.

Paddy Jackson scores their third try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Paddy Jackson: 8

Schmidt’s gameplan is reeled in without Sexton, but Jackson guided his team around this tough fixture very well. Tigerish without the ball, pressurising errors from the Scots in the second half and his try looked sure to be a turning point in the game for Ireland.

Conor Murray: 7

The pressure we all expected came, firstly, from Finn Russell of all people and it was of the most legal kind. Scotland’s breakdown excellence meant it was a rough ride all afternoon for Murray, but his breakaway and pass to set up a Jamie Heaslip chance showed every inch of his quality.

Joe Schmidt with Vern Cotter Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jack McGrath: 7

Scrummaging was the one big plus points for Ireland in the first half and the solid 16-man set-piece looked like it would give Ireland dominance. Carried well around the field and contributed his weight to Irish attacks.

Rory Best: 6

Early line-out errors proved absolutely critical for Ireland’s chances in this game. Kept Ireland going to the corner when, at just seven points down, a penalty to the posts would have done no harm.

Tadhg Furlong: 8

Another powerful display when locking horns at the scrum where he was magnificent. But Ireland’s opportunities there dwindled as the game went on. Unfortunate to be the man closest to Dunbar for the horrific line-out try.

Iain Henderson: 6

Uncharacteristically ineffectual in the first half as he wasn’t able to use his power and get Ireland over the gain-line. Took his try excellently, but Ultan Dillane’s call came too soon for Henderson to boost his numbers further.

Devin Toner: 6

In charge of the line-out and must carry the can for the Dunbar score and Richie Gray getting the upper hand on him through the first half. Got through a mountain of work in defence, not easy for a big man in the era of refs being hot on high tackles.

CJ Stander: 8

The Munster man was the first to lead the resistance when Ireland looked dead and buried and his efforts gave Ireland a rare look-in on defensive breakdowns. 24 tackles, were all hard as he clocked up 43 metres for his team.

CJ Stander arrives Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sean O’Brien: 7

Began to shine in the second half and looked a potent weapon the few times Ireland were able to get him onto carrying opportunity.

Jamie Heaslip: 6

After the highs of November, it’s unsettling to see Heaslip be unable to make his presence felt at breakdowns. His one big try chance ended with a hasty offload and, though he contributed a lot of carries for his team, they were too often from a slow start behind the gainline.

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