Ireland player ratings after bonus-point win over Russia

This was a game that Ireland could not afford to labour in, but labour they did all the same.

Ireland player ratings after bonus-point win over Russia

This was a game that Ireland could not afford to labour in, but labour they did all the same. The loss to the Japanese demanded a response in this game and, while Ireland managed to get the job done with a bonus point, they looked far from stylish in doing so with a disjointed, bitty performance that provided more questions than answers.

15: Rob Kearney

A decent outing from Kearney. He took his try well and managed the backfield with authority - bar one mix up with Conway. Still hugely important to Ireland with no sign of a challenge to his position within the squad on the horizon. 6/10

14: Andrew Conway

Conway had a big opportunity to stake a claim for further minutes in this tournament and, while he didn’t do himself any harm here with a try and some nice moments, he’ll have to press really hard against Samoa to make a dent on Schmidt’s thinking. 5/10

13: Garry Ringrose

Ringrose was one of Ireland’s top performers, for me. He was consistently looking to make things happen and often did just that. A bright spark in a fairly static Irish midfield in the second half. 7/10

12: Bundee Aki

This was Aki’s worst game for Ireland, in my opinion. There were no massive, game-changing errors but he was far from the reliable option he has looked in almost every other appearance. His performance was undone by an unusual number of handling errors. He wasn’t helped by the humidity - none of the Irish players were, in fairness - but it was a poor outing on a disjointed, unfamiliar day for much of this Irish backline. 4/10

11: Keith Earls

Keith Earls was close to Ireland’s top performer here. His support lines, willingness to offload and attack space were the standout feature in an effective performance. If anything, Ireland needed to get the ball in his hands more often. 7/10

10: Johnny Sexton (Capt)

The one thing you can always say about Sexton, is that he brings tactical cohesiveness to Leinster and Ireland. He did so again here for the 40 minutes he was on the field. That Ireland started to drop off immediately after his substitution is a key part in understanding where Ireland went wrong against Japan and, for large stretches, against Russia. 7/10

9: Luke McGrath

This was a mixed bag from McGrath. He ran good support lines at times - sometimes he overran his lines - but was bedevilled by his approaches to the breakdown and some humidity assisted poor pass accuracy. His kicking left a fair bit to be desired 5/10

1: Dave Kilcoyne

Kilcoyne had a pretty effective say with the ball in hand and in the scrum, for the most part. Ireland didn’t really take full advantage of the platform he often created. 6/10

2: Niall Scannell

There was nothing spectacular from Scannell here but he was effective where you’d want him to be. Reliable carries up the middle of the field, good scrummaging and effective in the lineout. 6/10

3: John Ryan

This was a decent first World Cup appearance from John Ryan. He handled some illegal Russian boring in well enough at the scrum and played a key part in Ruddock’s try. Did he do enough to pressure Porter for that bench spot? We’ll see. 6/10

4: Tadhg Beirne

Beirne didn’t have his usual effectiveness at the breakdown, although he came close a few times, to his clear frustration with some of the refereeing interpretations. He was Ireland’s primary target in the lineout and carried with real energy around the field. 6/10

5: Jean Kleyn

A dirty day’s work at the coal face for Jean Kleyn. He made some excellent one-man stops on the Russian ball carriers and consistently drew in numbers on his own carries. His work on offensive and defensive mauls was impressive in tough conditions. 6/10

6: Rhys Ruddock

This was a standout performance from Ruddock. He took his try well and it was just reward for his outstanding work around the pitch. He was really strong in contact on both sides of the ball and looked in excellent nick. A statement performance from him at an important time. 7/10

7: Peter O'Mahony

O’Mahony needed a big game and he duly obliged. He was a constant menace on the Russian throw and forced a number of Russian errors in contact. He took his try well and made a compelling case for a further appearance in the #7 shirt, especially with Ruddock impressing alongside him. 7/10

8: Jordi Murphy

Jordi Murphy did pretty well for his opening 20 minutes of World Cup action before succumbing to what looked like a rib injury. No Rating.

Replacements

I thought CJ Stander had a hugely effective game when he replaced Murphy. For a guy who is constantly criticised for his lack of passing, he managed the most outside of the halfbacks in his 60 minutes on the field. He was unfortunate to not pick up a try off an excellent break in the second half.

I felt Jack Carty had a similar game to his performance in Japan. Some nice moments, but very little control of the game with regards to how and where Ireland played the game. He’s a good player, that much is clear, but he seems to be in two minds as to how to direct the play.

Overall, I thought the bench replacements were pretty good in a bitty, disappointing day against a game but limited Russian side. 5/10

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