Player ratings: How Ireland performed in the 9-try rout in Rome

October 29, 2022 0 By JohnValbyNation

IRELAND SECURED THE Six Nations’ very first bonus point win away to Italy today. Here’s how we rated Joe Schmidt’s men.

Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Rob Kearney: 7

Never really gained aerial dominance, but, after an early blip, got his passing radar on target to help guide Ireland’s back-line to the bonus point.

Keith Earls: 9

His first-half brace were well-taken and important, but he arguably contributed just as much through his second half performance in the centre. Excellent energy and vision in that channel, keeping Ireland in good shape with and without the ball.

Garry Ringrose: 8

Another very solid outing and just his second Test away from home. Carried very well through the first-half and set a relentless line-speed after the break. Took his try brilliantly, cutting in off Jackson’s blindside pass.

Robbie Henshaw: 7

Helped set Ireland’s intensity levels from the off with some muscular hard yards in contact, particularly his barge over Carlo Canna in the lead-up to a game-breaking try. First man called ashore by Schmidt. He will be needed for much tougher Tests to come.

Simon Zebo: 8

Showed all of that x-factor as Ireland dominated possession and needed the Corkman’s feet and ingenuity to break the early lines. His pass to Stander for his first try was superb. Just a little lax with his attempted finish in the left corner when the game was still scoreless.

Paddy Jackson: 9

Flawless off the tee nine times, slick in attack and an absolute tiger in defence. Jackson is thriving with the mantle of being Ireland’s first-choice 10.

Excellent passing and variation with the ball in hand and led Ireland’s rapid line-speed in the second half, culminating in a very satisfying steal when Sergio Parisse was eyeing up the try-line.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Conor Murray: 8

Barely needed to get out of third gear as he glided from ruck to ruck keeping Ireland’s dominance ticking over. Early box kicks were on the money and stood in fluidly whenever Jackson was stuck into rucks.

Cian Healy: 7

Started off with his burning hunger evident in his carrying. Made sure the scrum standards didn’t drop. Unfortunate not to get the game’s first try.

The props only down points because of fewer minutes played in this case.

Niall Scannell: 8

An exceptionally good debut for the Munster hooker, who must have only known he was going to earn his first Test cap yesterday. The line-out functioned smoothly and his breakdown work meant even the great Rory Best was barely missed.

Tadhg Furlong: 7

Missing his fellow first-choice front-rowers but continued to make the scrum a weapon to be reckoned with, even against the Azzurri.

Added to that with a boatload of carrying work around the fringes to keep Italy’s big men occupied and Ireland on the front foot.

Donnacha Ryan: 8

Unlucky to be the one punished for Ireland’s maul defence before half-time. He was the embodiment of an anger Ireland played with even though he wasn’t part of the loss in Murrayfield. Remains Ireland’s form lock and must start against France.

Devin Toner: 7

Marshaled the line-out extremely well, helping Scannell ease into the Test arena with good call variation and, of course, his own massive presence.

CJ Stander: 9

The first Irish international forward to score a hat-trick since Keith Wood and then also helped Craig Gilroy on his way to a hat-trick with an excellent turnover – when Italy were mounting pressure – and kick into space.

Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Sean O’Brien: 8

Unusually took a back seat while his back row team-mates brought the fireworks, but his breakdown and carrying work was relentless in tight areas and his strength forced a turnover that led to one of Gilroy’s tries.

Jamie Heaslip: 8

Led the team well in Best’s absence. Didn’t even pretend to be interested in taking penalty opportunities, even directing Jackson to the corner when Ryan was in the bin.

His sublime offload to Robbie Henshaw was the moment that broke the floodgates open for Ireland.


Craig Gilroy: 5

A hat-trick in just over 30 minutes feels like a just reward for a man who has been close, but not quite close enough to be selected under Joe Schmidt so often. Bright and lively from the second he came on. Good takes in the air and of course his pace from a standing start is hellish for tired defenders.

Jack McGrath: 4

Made seven tackles in his short time on the field to help Ireland’s impressive defensive showing even when the result was beyond doubt.

John Ryan: 3

Furlong is a hard act to follow and the scrum struggled a little when he left the fray, but Ryan carried his fair share in attack and can bring more in a less fractured game.

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Ultan Dillane: 4

Brought his immense physicality with ball-in-hand to keep pummeling Italy backwards.

Not on long enough to be rated: James Tracy, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier,  Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley.

Two hat-tricks as Schmidt’s Ireland hammer Italy to get Six Nations bid rollingAs it happened: Italy v Ireland, Six Nations