Full Ireland player ratings after Maori All Blacks teach us an early lesson
MAORI ALL BLACKS 32-17 IRELAND
After 40 minutes, at Waikato Stadium, the Maori All Blacks will have been eyeing up a 50-point performance. Our Ireland player ratings do not make for a pretty read.
Ireland went 3-0 ahead through Ciarán Frawley before falling 8-3 behind after a Cullen Grace try and a Josh Ioane penalty. Gav Coombes combined with Bundee Aki and the Ireland captain's try, under the posts, saw the tourists go 11-10 ahead. That was as good as it got.
With the breakdown, scrum and Irish discipline all shaky, the Maori All Blacks pillaged three tries, for Zarn Sullivan, Brad Weber and Shaun Stevenson all dashing over for scores.
Match lost, pride somewhat restored
The second half was better for Ireland but, even still, it was littered with mistakes and penalties. Ireland knocked on the door for an early score, but a Dave Heffernan error cost them early momentum.
It took until the 67th minute to get back over the tryline. When they did, it was the excellent Gavin Coombes that did so, bulling over from close range.
Ireland could not get another score to tee up a close finish, and the historical record now reads 3-0 to the Maori All Blacks. Here's how we rated Andy Farrell's men in green:
IRELAND PLAYER RATINGS
Jimmy O’Brien - 5
Erred on his first clearing kick when not finding touch. Was caught out, and a 50/22 was conceded, when he drifted out of back-field cover to fill the D-line. Almost had Larmour in for a try with a neat chip into the corner.
Jordan Larmour - 5
Slippery ball and high bounce cost him an early try. Couple of good kick-chases. Tripped and knocked on when a big counter-attack was on. Another knock-on ended the game.
James Hume - 6
Who had money on Hume for the first line break?! Nice intent in defence. Over-eager at one stage, around 20 minutes in, and a penalty was conceded. Looked to be carrying an early knock. Eventually came off, after 50 minutes, and his tour may be over as he was distressed as he left the field of play.
Bundee Aki - 7
Big, early tackle first a knock-on. Combined with Hume to rush up and effect another, not long after. Timed his run well for his try under the posts. Harshly pinged at the breakdown, on 25 minutes. Was a willing carrier and tackler, all night. As captain, he could not get on top of his tesam's ill discipline.
Keith Earls - 5
Another game effort from the Munster winger, but he was mostly scrambling and tackling than making any meaningful punches in attack.
Ciaran Frawley - 5
Started well, and tackled bravely, but his cross-field kicks were not as accurate, and threatening, as they so often are. His kicking the the sidelines was poor.
Craig Casey - 6
Tipped along steadily until a nice snipe, on the half hour mark. One of the players left tackling fresh air before that fourth Maori try. His kicking out of hand was a mixed bag. Knock-on, on 54 minutes, was unfortunate as O'Toole touched it as he was darting in. Was at fault, though, with an offside penalty conceded, soon after.
Jeremy Loughman - 5
Turned over on his first carry, which resulted in him going for a HIA. Questionable whether he should have returned at all, given how dazed he looked after that early collision. Lasted until half-time, but did not look right.
Dave Heffernan - 6
Was doing well with tap-and-go penalties, until [on 45 minutes] he botched one, much to the Maori's delight. Lineout throwing was solid.
Tom O’Toole - 7
Early scrum penalty will have helped him settle in. Unfortunate slip basically opened the door for Brad Weber's walk-in try. Knocked on, coming into the Maori 22, after he could not cling on to a Treadwell offload. Played the full 80 and fought his ass off.
Joe McCarthy - 6
Showed real fire and heft in the early stages. Rushed it and got out of position in the opposition half, for that Stevenson try. Out there as an enforcer, the Maoris loved getting right back in his face.
Kieran Treadwell - 6
His physicality stood out in the opening stages, as he drove players back with dominant tackles. Pinged for not rolling away after coming in to assist on a McCarthy tackle. Acquitted himself well on a tough night for Ireland.
Cian Prendergast - 6
Tore into it from the start. Got pinged by Wayne Barnes for one early dip into the Maori ruck. Missed a tackle in the lead-up to the fourth Maori try. Just held up, on 45 minutes, as Ireland tried to fight back. Tossed a Hail Mary offload that found a charging Timoney.
Nick Timoney - 7
Came into his own after a sedate first half. Made some strong carries as Ireland tried to get the scoreboard moving. Was just shy of a try, on 47 minutes. Was alive to Prendergast offload to make a nice carry.
Gavin Coombes - 7.5
Ireland's best player. Lovely peel off the lineout and soft hands set up the Bundee Aki try. Made a bullocking, almost trademark, carry after receiving a goal-line drop-out. Made two heaving carries in the lead-up to his try, on 67 minutes.
Cian Healy (for Loughman '40) - 7
Arrived on much earlier than planned but helped his team win an early scrum penalty, before heading back to the bench. Came back as a full replacement, at half-time.
Mike Lowry (for Hume '49) - 6
Improved the team after coming on.
Ryan Baird (for Treadwell '51) - 6
Scrambling defence was needed after a dangerous Maori break up the right wing. Knocked on in a promising position.
Niall Scannell (for Heffernan '51) - 6
Shored up the scrum and threw well to the lineout.
Joey Carbery (for Jimmy O'Brien '60) - 5
Another mixed bag.
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