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Player Ratings: Ireland against Argentina

By RugbyPass

With the dust now settled on Ireland’s third and final victorious Autumn international we look at how the boys in green fared against Los Pumas.

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While player ratings are below a special mention must be made to defence coach Andy Farrell. Over the last number of years there have been arguments made that while Steve Hansen may coach the best team in world rugby, Joe Schmidt is the world’s best coach. After yesterday’s display, it might be time we acknowledged Farrell as one of – if not the – best defensive coaches on the circuit.

Anyway onto the players:

15 Rob Kearney
Played like the Kearney of old. Made a number of good line breaks beating several defenders. As always imperious under the highball, looking sharp and clinical while his tackling was of a high standard. Superb tracking back and tackle in the final moments.
8/10

14 Adam Byrne
A first international cap for the young Leinster man and proved a steady hand. May not have received enough ball to show his true skill but was exciting when given the chance. Made a couple of tackles showing a better quality of defence, which has been questioned lately.
6/10

13 Chris Farrell
A superb performance from the Munster man. Defensively was solid while doing a lot of hard work off the ball. Passed with sublime hands throughout and looked as comfortable as a veteran in his position.
8/10

12 Bundee Aki
While he may not have produced the exciting game breaking display most expect from him, Aki was strong in on defence as well, bringing powerful momentum into collisions. While kept quiet on attack, his tackle on Santiago González Iglesias a standout defensive moment.
6/10

11 Jacob Stockdale
Man of the match on the day and really there was no question. Two tries and a wonderful defensive display when called upon. His size and pace were on full display, and were especially evident for his second try as he powered past the Argentinian defence to go over the line.
9/10

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10 Johnny Sexton
Kicked well from the tee despite one missed conversion and once again put his body on the line numerous times in defence.
7/10

9 Conor Murray
Not his best day at the office. His box kicking was solid form but maybe let down by the lack of a kick chaser from his teammates. Passed well throughout but was slow to the breakdown and looked off the pace.
6/10

8 C J Stander
Once again showed his power with strong carries in the first half with a number of clinical defensive tackles. Was a clear leader throughout.
7/10

7 Sean O’Brien
Another who showed his sheer strength around the pitch. Made a number of metres with ball in hand while defensively was kept busy. While being one of the busiest at the breakdowns, ultimately not much more than a solid outing for the Tullow Tank.
6/10

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6 Peter O’Mahony
Much like O’Brien was busy at the breakdown and went looking for the work. Came off his feet a number of times and was lucky not to give away some silly penalties. Contributed hugely to a dominant scrum in the first 60 but not his best night.
6/10

5 Iain Henderson
Showed why he’s Ireland’s first choice in the second row right now. Whether he plays at four or five his work rate off the ball is phenomenal with his line-out and maul presence is invaluable. Went about his work with sheer class and determination.
8/10

4 James Ryan
Produced a fairly impressive defensive display for his first international start, linking well with Henderson. Added to a dominant Irish forward pack at scrum time. Could have been higher with more time on the pitch but was replaced on 48 minutes with a shoulder injury.
6/10

3 Tadhg Furlong
Was part of a forward pack that for the majority dominated a very strong Argentinian eight. Spent much of his time working defensively and put some important and powerful hits in, none more so than on Tomas Lezana which the referee thought might have been illegal but in fact was just an incredibly powerful hit.
7/10

2 Rory Best (captain)
As always Best went about his duties in a commanding yet quiet way. His line-out and scrummaging was sturdy while over the ball he was very strong.
6/10

1 Cian Healy
Only a few weeks ago many would have laughed at allowing Healy to be on the bench for Ireland let alone starting, well he has proven those critics wrong. His level of scrummaging has come on massively – he almost looks like he is holding the entire scrum on one arm. His work rate was through the roof.
8/10

Replacements:

16 James Tracy
Not enough time for rating.

17 Dave Kilcoyne
Came on for Healy before picking up an injury and being replaced shortly after. Not enough time for rating.

18 John Ryan
Solid for the last 15, kept the forwards strong.
5/10

19 Devin Toner
Came on just after the half, filled in nicely but never fully got going.
5/10

20 Rhys Ruddock
Limited time on the field replacing O’Brien but was sturdy and looked to try and up his sides tempo.
5/10

21 Luke McGrath
Not enough time for rating.

22 Ian Keatley
Not enough time for rating.

23 Andrew Conway
Came on at the hour mark and continued his impressive form from the last number of tests. Good footwork and speed shown in his limited time on the pitch.
6/10

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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