Ireland player ratings: The Georgia game was always going to afford Andy Farrell a rare opportunity to experiment, and he took that opportunity, at least to a degree.
Playing the Lelos is always a bit of a hiding to nothing for Tier 1 teams. Anything less than a hammering is a failure, no matter how well the Georgians play. What the match was, was an opportunity for individuals to showcase their talents, with all eyes on flyhalf Billy Burns.
Credit to Georgia who have grown in confidence week on week! pic.twitter.com/nOHkJbUQ1S
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 29, 2020
What viewers got was turgid. Here’s our Ireland player ratings:
15. JACOB STOCKDALE – 5.5/10
Georgian centre Giorgi Kvesealadze needs to invoice him for the outrageous dummy that he bought on his way to their brilliant 17th-minute try. A botched chip was symptomatic of an Ireland side that were trying to play too much rugby in the opening minutes. The Irish fullback’s passing however was absolutely top draw and he was one of the few players trying to make things happen in attack.
14. HUGO KEENAN – 6
Keenan has been remarkably composed in his short Ireland career to date, and that trend continued here. Picked up another try following a sumptuous miss-out pass from Stockdale. Defended intelligently, shooting out his line to snuff out a Georgian overlap with a phenomenal read in the 49th minute.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) November 29, 2020
13. CHRIS FARRELL – 5
A strong start to the game with a crunching hit on Georgia’s Vasil Lobzhanidze. The Lelos midfield had the Munsterman’s number however, isolating, holding him up and turning him over on multiple occasions.
12. STUART MCCLOSKEY – 6.5
With just three caps to his name leading in the game, he was clearly desperate to make an impression on Ireland’s selectors, but it wasn’t the perfect start for Bangor Bulldozer. The big 12 turned over the ball with his first carry, a mistake which was compounded moments later when he forced an offload for a second turnover in the space of two minutes. Started to settle thereafter, his kicking from hand in particular impressing. A bizarre forward pass call then denied him a perfectly good try and his 87 post-contact metres made him Ireland’s key route up the pitch.
11. KEITH EARLS – 5
Couldn’t quite wriggle his way past Georgian defenders in a 9th-minute push for the line. Very little ball came his way thereafter.
10. BILLY BURNS – 6
He made up for a charge down by dummying his way over for Ireland’s first try. This was a scatty Ireland performance with Burns at the wheel, and his try aside, you don’t feel he’s furthered his case for the sacred ten jersey. He’ll be happy with a 15 points haul but injury ultimately robbed him of a chance to lay down a marker.
9. CONOR MURRAY – 5
His box kicks were impeccable. Other than that a workmanlike shift from the veteran.
1. FINLAY BEALHAM – 4
Considering Georgia’s scrum issues against Wales and England, one expected Ireland to have done a similar number on them. They didn’t. The more the match wore on, the more the Connacht prop struggled. He’s handy in the loose but question marks remain unanswered around his scrummaging. The sight of him being dragged along the ground following one particular scrum monstering will make for difficult viewing on Monday morning.
2. ROB HERRING – 6
Came within millimetres of scoring off a 32nd-minute rolling maul but was ultimately held-up. While the scrum creaked, Ireland’s lineout was pretty immaculate.
3. ANDREW PORTER – 5
Had his work cut against Mikheil Nariashvili. He was penalised less than Bealham in the first half, but he did little to stem the tide of Georgian confidence in this area of the game.
4. IAIN HENDERSON – 7
Was Ireland’s outstanding forward. Scattered Georgian defenders every time he carried. All the Lions talk is about Ryan, but it was Henderson who showed his Lions pedigree here.
5. JAMES RYAN – 4
A flat performance from the Leinsterman. Ireland needed a gee-up as the Georgians grew into the match, but the odd carry, Ryan didn’t seem overly interested. In a strangely impassive post-match interview the skipper said he was ‘happy’ with Ireland’s scrum and their first-half performances. You’d be forgiven for wondering what match he was talking about.
6. TADHG BEIRNE – 6
Carried hard and harried the opposition and was a menace over the ball.
7. WILL CONNORS – 6
Possibly at fault for the Georgians’ brilliant first try but threw himself into the contact zone. Looked to play the link role at times, although it didn’t always pan out for the 24-year-old. Came off with a HIA after being involved in a massive collision.
8. CJ STANDER – 6
He needed a big performance after striking a bum note against England. Spent the afternoon trucking it up the pitch for moderate gains.
JOHN RYAN – 6
A rare opportunity for Ryan, who scrummed well after coming on for Porter.
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