Andrew Conway tops player ratings as Ireland dish out star-spangled thrashing
IRELAND - 57
USA - 14
Joe Schmidt's Ireland extended their Aviva Stadium winning run to 12 and claimed their 11th victory of a memorable 2018. The USA put up a fight for 40 minutes but Ireland powered home in the second half.
Ireland were over for a try within four minutes of kick-off, with Andrew Conway and Rhys Ruddock linking up to shred the US defence. The Munster winger had the scoring pleasure and added a second, but not before USA hooker Joe Taufete'e had mugged off a couple of Irish players to score one of his own.
Ireland were then in serious bother when Iain Henderson was sin-binned and conceded a penalty try in the process. A rolling maul that Ireland could not cope with. Conway stepped up again, however, with an assist for Jack Conan. That try and a Joey Carbery penalty saw Ireland go in 24-14 ahead at half-time.
Ireland ironed out any kinks at half-time and were the dominant force after the break, with Tadhg Beirne powering over for a try and Stuart McCloskey getting his first for Ireland by flopping over in the corner. Quinn Roux got in on the act after coming off the bench for the final quarter.
The penultimate scoring act for Ireland was also their best try of the game, as Garry Ringrose bedevilled the US defence before setting up Conway for his hat-trick. Munster tight-head John Ryan sealed the whopper win with a try after the clock went 80 and Joey Carbery chipped over a conversion.
Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green:
Will Addison - 7.5
Was lively in the opening exchanges and looked good, bar one loopy pass to Conway that stalled an attacking move. Lovely flick pass for Conway's second try. Was shifted over to the left wing when Sweetnam came off. Only lasted until half-time but did not return after a Head Injury Assessment.
Andrew Conway - 8.5
Came inside looking for work and linked up to try-scoring effect with Ruddock. Was over again in the corner for his second try in the space of 20 minutes and teed up Conan for his score with a lovely line break and pass. Looked to have teed up Luke McGrath after a lovely chip and chase but the score was ruled out for a Cian Healy forward pass. Got his hat-trick after supporting Ringrose well.
Garry Ringrose - 7
Great footwok and an unselfish pass to get Conway his hat-trick. Looked dangerous whenever he was able to open up with ball in hand. Was held up near the halfway line to concede a turnover. Conceded possession again, a yard from the US tryline, with a hasty offload. His defence has really beefed up and he showed that by walloping into Blaine Scully in the final quarter, to force a turnover.
Stuart McCloskey - 7
Conceded an early penalty and was used for bulling carries up the guts. Came close to a try before Beirne got over but was livid with himself for knocking on, soon after. Stayed out on the left wing and was rewarded with a handy try on the hour-mark.
Darren Sweetnam - 6
Real shame for the Cork native. Made 37 metres off his two carries and stuck his one and only tackle, but only lasted 25 minutes.
Joey Carbery - 7
Goal-kicking was very impressive and he was tipping along nicely at outhalf. Had to drop back to cover fullback when Sweetnam's injury forced a major shake-up. Would love to see him up against a tougher foe in the Six Nations. 17 points off the boot.
John Cooney - 7
Kept things moving. Three carries and seven kicks in his 100 possessions but otherwise kept his pack and backline moving. One gem of reverse flick pass to Ruddock just before McCloskey's try.
Dave Kilcoyne - 7
Failing to cling onto hooker Joe Taufet'e allowed him to resume his footing and bounder over for a try. Scrum gradually took control and Kilcoyne was key here. Made a couple of nice carries in the second half.
Niall Scannell - 7
Good carry, in close, just before Conway's second try. Lineout looked a bit creaky again, in the first half, but whatever was discussed at the break worked. Trusted his ability to throw to the tail. Made a great block-down of a clearing kick.
Finlay Bealham - 7
Irish scrum started to gain the upper-hand as the game ticked on and Bealham was crucial in that regard.
Tadhg Beirne - 7
Nice pass to Addison, off the deck, before Conway's second. Conceded a penalty at the lineout soon after. Was a handy lineout option at the back in the second half and showed strength to plough over for his third Test try.
Iain Henderson - 6
Smart poach off the back of a back-pedalling USA scrum led to Conway's second try. Sent to the sin-bin and conceded a penalty try as he, and his teammates, struggled to stop a rolling USA maul.
Rhys Ruddock - 8
Superb line break and delayed pass to set up Conway for the opening try. 15 carries for 54 metres (most of it to tee up that Conway try) and stuck all 10 of his tackles.
Jordi Murphy - 7
Was able to free himself up in contact a couple of times and get nice offloads away. Stuck 10 tackles.
Jack Conan - 7
Supported Conway well to score another Test try. 43 metres gained off 12 carries and he sank nine tackles in, missing none.
Ross Byrne (for Sweetnam '25) - 7
The US players went after him HARD. Ate a few big contacts but never shirked a tackle. Backline functioned well with Byrne at 10. Pulled out his patented cross-field kick to set up McCloskey's try.
Sam Arnold (for Addison '40) - 6
John Ryan (for Bealham '47) - 7
Got over for the last try.
Rob Herring (for Scannell '57) - 6
Quinn Roux (for Henderson '57) - 7
Got his first Test try.
Luke McGrath (for Cooney '60) - 6
Hd a try chalked off for Healy's forward pass.
Cian Healy (for Kilcoyne '60) - 6
Josh van der Flier (for Conan '66) - 6