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Out of 10: How we rated Schmidt's Ireland in the third Test

It was a disappointing end to the tour for Ireland in Port Elizabeth.

IRELAND’S TOUR OF South Africa ended in disappointment as they lost 19-13 in the final Test to ensure the Boks wrapped up a 2-1 series success.

Read our match report from Port Elizabeth here

Tiernan O’Halloran: not rated

His main involvement was to be taken out in the air by Willie le Roux, but briefly looked comfortable in the Test environment. Returned to the field after a HIA test, then was replaced at half time by Matt Healy.

Andrew Trimble: 6

Andrew Trimble dejected Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Didn’t hit the standard he had set for himself in the opening two Tests and will have been disappointed to concede possession to the Boks twice. Had a handful of strong carries when Ireland attacked.

Luke Marshall: 7

Very much a mixed bag from the Ulsterman. Scored a try, beat defenders, turned the ball over at the breakdown and got Ireland onto the front foot. However, he coughed up possession on a number of occasions and failed to find Keith Earls after a big break.

Stuart Olding: 8

One of the real positives for Ireland after a demanding return to the international game in the second Test. His footwork and distribution were both impressive and made some smart tackles low down.

Keith Earls: 7

Keith Earls dejected Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Got many chances to carry the ball as Ireland enjoyed the vast majority of possession but couldn’t always find the chink of space he needs to explode. Not heavily involved in defence and shifted into fullback in the second half.

Paddy Jackson: 6

It’s been an excellent tour for Jackson but this was a dip in the final Test. His kicking was not as accurate as it had been in the opening two games and he will be kicking himself for the missed try chance that saw Faf de Klerk intercept.

Conor Murray: 7

Murray’s best moments have come in defence as he has been almost ever-present in the frontline under Andy Farrell. Another breakdown turnover penalty arrived in Port Elizabeth but the Munster man couldn’t quite prompt Ireland forward enough in attack.

Jack McGrath: 7

Now perhaps Ireland’s best player. The scrum had a bad day but McGrath was excellent elsewhere.

Rory Best: 6

Rory Best with his children Ben and Penny after the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The captain was generally effective in open play, as he always is, though he too will have been disappointed with the scrum effort. After a tough Six Nations, Best looked more comfortable in the captaincy on this tour.

Mike Ross: 6

A tough day for the veteran tighthead as Tendai Mtawarira once again showed his strength at scrum time. Hit rucks as willingly as ever but one wonders if Schmidt was tempted to send Tadhg Furlong on earlier than the 51st minute.

Iain Henderson: 8

Possibly Ireland’s best player on the day, he was dynamic and impactful once again. Hammers into tackles, so often looking for the choke or strip, and is generally a pest to the opposition. His carrying came close to the ruck so never made big yards.

Devin Toner: 7

Another whose stock has risen even further on this tour. Unlike Henderson, he does not provide the explosive, eye-catching moments but his actions are nonetheless crucial in the tight – lineout, maul, ruck and short carry.

CJ Stander: 8

CJ Stander dejected Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Having been deprived of a chance to feature for more than 22 minutes of the first Test and suspended for the second, the Munster man looked keen to make up for lost time. Excellent on the deck post-tackle and made yards for Ireland with ball in hand.

Jordi Murphy: 7

Energetic on his return after a weekend off but, like most of his team-mates, not without errors. His pass for Marshall for a crucial knock-on in the second half was far from sympathetic. Worked very hard at ruck time.

Jamie Heaslip: 7

Another big work rate from the Leinster number eight. Like some of the other forwards, he looked for the pass regularly and showed that he is comfortable with changes to Ireland’s game plan.

Replacements: 7

Ultan Dillane, Eoin Reddan and Sean Cronin all had positive impact but one wonders if they should have been introduced sooner. Rhys Ruddock pinged for going off his feet late on.

Coaches: 7

Schmidt will ponder whether he should have used his bench earlier within a game plan that involved plenty of width and passing. Andy Farrell’s defence had some big moments, but Greg Feek and Simon Easterby know they have work to do with the set-piece.

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Missed chance and chances, red and more talking points from Ireland’s defeat

Schmidt’s Ireland come up short as Springboks claim series victory

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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