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24th Oct 2020

Two new boys and one CJ Stander dominate player ratings after Italy win

Patrick McCarry

Ireland ratings


Ireland put 50 points on the board against an overrun Italian side, but may yet regret the concession of two sloppy tries. The Ireland ratings are dominated by a couple of newcomers and one CJ Stander.

Ireland went into the game knowing they needed a big, bonus point win to stay in with a shout of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations title. After three minutes, though, they were 3-0 down and Conor Murray was in the sin-bin.

It got better. Much better.

With Garry Ringrose doing a fine scrumhalf cameo, CJ Stander bulled over for Ireland’s first try and Johnny Sexton added that conversion and a penalty soon after.

It was all about Hugo Keenan, thereafter, as he showed nice footwork to grab a Test try, on his debut, and doubled up just before half-time.

24-3 up at half-time, Ireland got stuck in the mud in the third quarter of the game. They failed to put the Azzurri under enough pressure and were turned over on a couple of occasions.

Sexton sought to cut out Bundee Aki with a pass intended to Robbie Henshaw, on 54 minutes, but Edoardo Padovani spotted it coming and raced away for an intercept try. That was enough to wake Ireland up as Will Connors and Johnny Sexton responded with two tries in five minutes and the bench made a big impact.

The tables were turned to such an extent that sub Peter O’Mahony was able to delight us all with a stunning underarm offload for Aki that was the exclamation point on Ireland’s win. There was still time for Dave Heffernan to get over for a converted try that pushed Ireland up to 50, but they will hate the late concession of that Paolo Gabrisi try.

Here’s how we rated Andy Farrell’s men in green:

Jacob Stockdale – 7

Iffy in defence, on a few occasions, but electric in attack. Foot-in-touch, early on, gave the Italians a lineout they shouldn’t have got. Needed Conway coaching him on fullback positioning, more than once. Opened the Italian defence up too, and his line break gift-wrapped a try for Keenan until the TMO got involved.

Andrew Conway – 6

Quiet enough first half as Ireland found most joy up the left wing. Had a bit more to do in the second half. Unlucky a grubber up the line rolled into touch.

Garry Ringrose – 7

Probably didn’t expect to find himself at scrum-half after only 90 seconds, but looked handy in the role with Murray in the sin-bin. Looked lively but only lasted 27 minutes after copping a knee to the face while trying to block a kick.

Bundee Aki – 8

Brought that standard Aki energy in his [BELLOWED!] words and actions. Made a couple of strong carries up the left flank. Finished strong and was rewarded with a try in the closing stages.

Hugo Keenan – 9

Two big defensive tackles and a turnover helped him settle into the game. Showed great footwork for his opening try, speed for his second and had another good score chalked off, in between. Great in the air and on the kick-chase too.

Johnny Sexton – 8

Once again showed his eagerness for defensive work while keeping his backline ticking over. Threw an intercept to Padovani but bounced back with a try of his own after 65 minutes.

Conor Murray – 7

Made a try-saving tackle then got yellow-carded in the space of 20 frantic seconds. Came back with his team 10-3 ahead and kept them ticking over with steady passing and his troublesome box-kicks.

Cian Healy – 7

Won an early scrum penalty that put Ireland 10-3 ahead. Didn’t make many carries but stuck in some meaty tackles.

Rob Herring – 7

Combined with Porter to win an early turnover. Lineout throwing and tackling were on point and he was a breakdown nuisance.

Andrew Porter – 8

Had a lot of fun out there! Good physicality and support play won his side an early turnover. Won another at the breakdown soon after and looked good in the scrum too.

Tadhg Beirne – 8

His team’s tackler in chief. Took down swathes of blue jerseys. Won Ireland another early turnover and lumped into 12 tackles in the opening half.

James Ryan – 7

Was very unlucky after being penalised for an elbow nudge that resulted in a ‘blocking’ call and a Keenan try being ruled out. Made some bruising carries that got his team front-foot ball.

Caelan Doris – 8

Won his side a turnover inside their own half that resulted in Keenan’s second try. His strong carry, on 65 minutes, sucked in three Italian defenders and set up a handy Sexton try.

Will Connors – 9

A physically dominant display as he horsed into tackles and proved a headache at the breakdown. Got over for a debut try off the back of a rolling maul.

CJ Stander – 9

Showed real power and tenacity to ram over for Ireland’s opening try. Was used more around the breakdown that to tackle carriers, and it worked well. One of his most productive ball-carrying games in the green jersey for a while.


Robbie Henshaw (for Ringrose ’27) – 6

Came on after Ringrose went for a HIA and stayed on thereafter. Won his side a good turnover in the final minutes.

Dave Heffernan (for Herring ’50) – 7

A couple of strong carries and steady throws when he came on. Got a try with the penultimate drive of the game.

Ed Byrne (for Healy ’55) – 5

Such was Ireland’s dominance in the final 20 that he made more carries than tackles.

Finlay Bealham (for Porter ’62) – 6

Some strong carries.

Ultan Dillane (for Ryan ’62) – 6

Fierce tackles and clear-outs when he entered the fray.

Peter O’Mahony (for Doris ’67) – 7

Made a gem of an offload to tee up Bundee Aki for a simple try.

Jamison Gibson Park (for Murray ’67) – 6

Ross Byrne (for Sexton ’71) – 5