A second string Ireland team beat the USA 57-14 in Dublin on Saturday, to make it four wins from four in November. Joe Schmidt’s side scored eight tries, including a hat-trick for Andrew Conway. Nathaniel Cope was at the Aviva Stadium for RugbyPass.
15. Will Addison 8
Thrown in at the last minute in the centre against Argentina after Robbie Henshaw pulled up, the former England Under 20 international had more time to prepare for this one. His versatility makes a World Cup squad place highly likely, justifying his move from Sale in the summer to Ulster. His fielding was of a high standard and not afraid to attack when given the opportunity. It was a shame that a HIA ended his game, failing to return for the second half.
14. Andrew Conway 9
This time last year he was in the form of his life, scoring a try against South Africa and picking up a man-of-the-match against Fiji, only for an injury before the 2018 Six Nations to curtail him. Another man-of-the-match performance here, he combined well with Rhys Ruddock for the game’s opening try in the 3rd minute. His only real blemish was when he failed to hang on to Joe Taufete’e for USA’s first try. Scored a second try in the 17th minute, with his hat-trick coming late on as he, once again, ran a good support line, this time following a fine Garry Ringrose break.
13. Garry Ringrose 8
The only player retained from Ireland’s 16-9 win over the All Blacks. His best bits came late on, making a crunch tackle on USA full-back Will Hooley in the 68th minute. (Ireland had missed just 5 tackles in the match by that stage, you could see why, 6 was their finishing total). He was a live wire in the last ten minutes and the USA couldn’t handle him – he spotted the smallest of gaps in the 77th minute and followed it with a swivel of the hips, making around 40 metres, before the perfect offload to Conway – one of the highlights of the match. He made a whopping 106 metres in total.
12. Stuart McCloskey 7
Refreshingly honest in the build-up to this game saying that he needs injuries to force his way into the first-choice midfield, such is the depth in this area for Ireland and the fact he’s solely a 12 also counts against him. Just his third cap, and first since playing Fiji last November, Joe Schmidt also called for him to be a “ball player” as well as a “ball carrier” in the lead-up. He maybe didn’t full achieve this but a decent performance all the same. He stood his ground when faced with the considerable bulk of Harlequins centre Paul Lasike, who tested his defensive channel a number of times early on. Got on the end of Ross Byrne’s crossfield kick’s to score his first international try just before the hour mark, but Schmidt will still be looking for more from the Ulsterman.
11. Darren Sweetnam 5
A try scorer against Fiji last November. His only contribution of note came in the 2nd minute with a break down the left touchline but he failed to find his man with the offload. His match lasted just 27 minutes when he was replaced by Ross Byrne due to a back complaint.
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10. Joey Carbery 7
Ross Byrne may have been ahead of him in the 10 queue at Leinster, but in green the new Munster outhalf has the upper hand. With Byrne on early because of the Sweetnam injury, the two interchanged as first receiver to good effect. Carbery made a few snipes, but failed to make any significant break in the first half. A good display from the tee, 8 from 9. Switched to full back at the start of the second half after Addison’s HIA and was comfortable there too.
9. John Cooney 6
The goalkicking Ulster scrum half finally got his first start for Ireland, a reward for some consistently good form since his move to Belfast. Didn’t overly impress, however he did the necessary.
1. Dave Kilcoyne 7
His stats while playing for Munster have seen him in the RugbyPass Index (RPI) World XV on 90 points, four ahead of Cian Healy who is fourth in the loosehead standings. But with Healy and another Leinsterman Jack McGrath ahead of Kilcoyne, usurping either will be tough. But he had a good day, the Irish scrum dominated, and he also made a barnstorming break in the 58th minute, showing a decent bit of pace.
2. Niall Scannell 5
With Sean Cronin misfiring when he came on against the All Blacks, particularly at lineout, Scannell was given his chance to push his case. He had four first half lineouts and two were lost – one to the front and one to the tail, both were in the USA 22 with a good attacking platform and the opportunities were blown. Rectified things in the second half, before being replaced.
3. Finlay Bealham 7
The Connacht tighthead is behind Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Porter, but would be happy with this outing. His highlight was a scrum penalty in the 36th minute when he got the better of his opposite man Titi Lamositele. Replaced in the 47th minute.
4. Tadhg Beirne 6
A two-try performance against Italy at the start of November, but failed to make a matchday 23 for Argentina or New Zealand, Beirne still has work to do to force Joe Schmidt’s hand. Showed his elasticity to take a tricky restart after Ireland’s second try, but let another one slip over him later in the half. Scored a 52nd minute try rumbling over from close in.
5. Iain Henderson 7
A physical presence, ripped the ball in the 7th minute for a turnover in the Irish 22. Pounced on loose ball in the 16th minute and not long after Ireland were in for their second try. Yellow carded in the 23rd minute for pulling down the maul and a penalty try was awarded. Another big turnover in the 36th minute, using his strength again.
7. Jordi Murphy 7
A big 11th minute turnover at a ruck when the USA had been building some momentum in the Irish 22. Ireland’s top tackler with 11, a decent evening’s work.
8. Jack Conan 7
It seems that CJ Stander has the Irish number 8 shirt sewn up, but in Jack Conan they have a very useful alternative, one that gets his fair share of tries, ran a good support line for Ireland’s 34th minute try. Charge down in the 58th minute to give Ireland position and possession, shortly afterwards Ireland were in for their fifth try.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 24, 2018
16. Rob Herring 6
The Ulsterman is fourth choice in the pecking order it seems. Did all the basics well when he came on.
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18. John Ryan 8
A 47th minute sub for Bealham, his first action was a series of scrums, from which he eventually yielded a penalty. The USA front row were given a rough ride throughout this contest and he was a hefty contributor in that. A turnover to his name and a try scorer at the death, quite the impact from the bench.
19. Quinn Roux 6
A try scorer in the 66th minute, didn’t really stand out apart from that.
20. Josh van der Flier 7
67th minute sub for Jack Conan, his usual bustling self and picked off a customary turnover while on the pitch.
21. Luke McGrath 7
Scrum half is another area of the pitch that’s quite congested for Ireland, particularly with the return of Conor Murray. Kieran Marmion is clearly the preferred understudy, and so it appears to be a straight fight between McGrath and Cooney for that third spot in Japan. Tempo again upped once he was introduced, unfortunate to have a 72nd minute try ruled out for a forward pass in the build-up.
22. Ross Byrne 7
An earlier than anticipated introduction for the injured Darren Sweetnam, dovetailed with Carbery in the first half and then permanently at 10 in the second. A perfectly weighted cross-field kick put the ball on a plate for McCloskey’s try. A composed presence and he can be happy with his performance.
23. Sam Arnold 5
A debut for the Munster centre when he came on at the start of the second half, initially as a HIA for Will Addison, which turned into a full swap. Playing out of position on the wing. Gave away a 73rd minute penalty for needlessly taking out the USA scrum half from the back of the ruck – errors like this Joe Schmidt gets frustrated about, he notably mentioned it in his post-match press conference.
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