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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Out of 10: How Ireland rated in today's Six Nations clash with Scotland

Ireland were made to work early on by Scotland, but emerged with a convincing win.

Image: ©INPHO/Colm O'Neill

IRELAND’S SIX NATIONS campaign got off to a stuttering start against Scotland on Lansdowne Road today.

Here’s how we rated Joe Schmidt’s men in the three-try 28 – 6 win.

Rob Kearney – 7

Injected real pace and excitement into Lansdowne Road to give the back-line a run after seven quiet minutes and took a big hit to allow Andrew Trimble canter over. Finished powerfully to put the game beyond Scotland.

Andrew Trimble – 7

Not given the freedom to come and look for work as he does with Ulster, but being pinned to the touchline has its advantages and the reward came with his 13th international try on the stroke of half time.

Brian O’Driscoll – 7

Endured a difficult afternoon with little open territory to work in. Trying to force the pace of the game in that first half was commendable, but pass to the floor on the edge of his 22 was not. His breakdown efforts were more accurate than his attack.

Luke Marshall – 7

Lack of first half go-forward ball meant the centre was well marked on the few occasions he did have opportunity to run.  Showed some nice flashes of creativity including one glorious pass to Dave Kearney in the second half, but it seems as if Schmidt will trust in Gordon D’Arcy when Wales come calling next weekend.

Dave Kearney –  6

An assured display. Sound under the high ball and his kicking took Ireland out of their 22 on occasions when danger threatened. Had precious few opportunities to impress in attack until his acrobatic effort at a touchdown in the final minute.

Jonathan Sexton –  7

Like Marshall, found himself well wrapped up until the brilliant break from his own half that set up Heaslip’s first chance. That break eventually led to first half try, but at times the 10 would be better served going to the boot.

Off the tee he was almost flawless, missing only the conversion after Trimble’s try.

Conor Murray – 7

Struggled in the early stages when the Scottish pack were forcing him onto back foot. With a noticeable lack of  kicking he embodied Ireland’s patience and trust in their own ability and the scrum-half kept the tempo ticking over until Isaac Boss was introduced.

Cian Healy – 7

Wasn’t rewarded for scrum dominance over Moray Low, and didn’t have many opportunities to inflict his trademark carries on Scotland, but was hugely effective in counter-rucking in open play. Left the game early along with the rest of his front row with Schmidt clearly pointing to a bigger challenge next Saturday.

Rory Best – 7

Line-out went extremely well despite the loss of its shining beacon and Best’s throwing had a massive role to play in that. As ever, the Ulster hooker also contributed more than his fair share in ope play.

Mike Ross – 6

The tighthead is judged by the scrum and Ireland’s went well without pulling up many trees. He did make a big tackle on Weir in the first half to force Scotland back a pivotal time in the game. First off the park as Martin Moore made his debut.

Devin Toner – 7

Took over duty of calling the line-out in Paul O’Connell’s absence and played his cards well, relying chiefly on himself and O’Mahony in the first half rather than put too much onus on Tuohy who popped up superbly after half time.

Dan Tuohy – 7

Faced the impossible task of filling in as a late call-up in place of O’Connell. Seemed to grow into the the game and was a force to be reckoned with once Scotland’s early impetus died down.

Peter O’Mahony – 8

Proved a real pest for Scotland at breakdown and line-out, taking important balls in the air on both Irish and Scottish ball. His athleticism in the set-piece is a real asset for a side, especially after the late loss of the captain.

Chris Henry – 7

Played on the edge early on and forced decisions either way from Craig Joubert. Seemed to escape the South African’s gaze from there on and contributed to a huge amount of rucks with his efforts rewarded as the Scots tired.

Jamie Heaslip – 8

Given captaincy late in the day and made important decisions to go for line-outs when Scotland were on the rack in first half.

Went so close to finishing off a magnificent Sexton-inspired try, but got dragged into touch. Added his usual high dose of work-rate around the park and eventually got the try he wanted on the back of a hyper-efficient line-out.

As it happened: Ireland v Scotland, Six Nations

Early blow: Chest infection takes captain O’Connell out of Scotland clash

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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