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Rugby

02nd Feb 2024

Ireland vs. France: All the biggest moments, talking points and player ratings

Patrick McCarry

Ireland ratings

FRANCE 17-38 IRELAND

Andy Farrell’s Ireland side put all the Six Nations trophies they won in 2023 on the line, as they kicked off their 2024 campaign in Marseille.

Our live hub of the match (below) had all the biggest moments, talking points, best scores and full Ireland ratings after an historic result.

IRELAND RATINGS

Hugo Keenan – 8

Won his side a big first half turnover, and sent Penaud packing with one tackle. Nailed Penaud again in the second half.

Calvin Nash – 7

Put a smidge too much on a chip-and-chase. Stayed patient, and wide, for his try in the left-hand corner. Let Le Garrec claim his own up-and-under but failed to bundle him out of play.

Robbie Henshaw – 7

Was needed for the hard yak, and harder hits, to quell that French fight. Teamed up with Lowe to help win a turnover. One delightful offload to Sheehan.

Bundee Aki – 8.5

His usual combative self. Great offload for the JGP try. Got through oodles of work and was a breakdown nuisance.

James Lowe – 8

Nice high field and spin, early on. Snatched a turnover, soon after. His kicking out of hand was excellent. Won a big turnover after swarming Ramos.

Jack Crowley – 6

Early kick behind was charged down for a cheap turnover. Too much on a grubber, soon after. Not a great start. Missed a simple penalty that would have made it 13-0. Nailed his toughest conversion, from the touchline, after Nash’s try. Unlucky to be penalised when fairly contesting a high ball.

Jamison Gibson-Park – 8

Great support of Aki for his 6th Ireland try. Costly kicking blip on 56 minutes. Slotted in well to tidy up in defence a couple of times.

Andrew Porter – 7

Took that early thud to the head, from Willemse. Won a crucial breakdown turnover in the second half.

Dan Sheehan – 8

Lineout throwing was on point in the first half. Tackled brilliantly. Crashed over for the bonus point try.

Tadhg Furlong – 6

Put in some lusty hits in defence. Not a heap of scrums this evening, although France had one that caused some Irish back-pedalling. 

Tadhg Beirne – 8

Pinged for a breakdown penalty, on 13 minutes (Ireland’s first conceded). Charged down a Lucu kick. Cantered over for Ireland’s second try. Stole a very important France Lineout.

Joe McCarthy – 8.5

Extremely physical in the opening stages. Landed some hefty hits. Mistake on France restart gifted them easy points. Pinged again, at the breakdown, early in the second half. Great Lineout target. Not perfect but his physicality was a difference-maker.

Peter O’Mahony – 6

Came up big with an early poach to win a penalty in his own 22. A lineout menace for the French. Was sin-binned after French maul pressure.

Josh van der Flier – 7.5

France had his card marked and lined him up for some bit shots when he carried. There like a shot to secure ball when Penaud dropped a restart. A ceaseless workhorse. Only blemish was a few missed tackles.

Caelan Doris – 8

All-action first half display and made impacts in attack and defence. Was a big presence in the build-up to the Nash try. Class act. 

REPLACEMENTS

  • James Ryan – 6
  • Jack Conan – 7
  • Finlay Bealham – 6
  • Ronan Kelleher – 7 – Rumbled over for a try.
  • Cian Healy – 6 – Had an earlier stint after Porter’s head knock.
  • Ryan Baird – 6
  • Conor Murray – 5
  • Ciarán Frawley – N/A

Click on the key point you want to read about, or just keep scrolling to see updates in our live hub [below]:

Ireland players celebrate a scrum penalty at Stade de France. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)

Ireland player ratings from most recent outings

Looking back at our Ireland player ratings for the warm-up games and the World Cup, it gives us an idea of who stepped up in some big games for Andy Farrell.

Jacob Stockdale and Caelan Doris were the top performers in the warm-up win over Italy. Against England, Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier were the top dogs. Hansen did well against Samoa, along with Ryan Baird and Conor Murray.

In the Romania game, Keenan, Bundee Aki, Johnny Sexton and Joe McCarthy all scored 8/10s. Against Tonga, Johnny Sexton and Mack Hansen both scored 9/10 while James Ryan, Andrew Porter and Bundee Aki all got 8s.

In that epic, tense win over South Africa, Caelan Doris, Andrew Porter and James Lowe all scored 8/10, while Bundee Aki got 8.5 after another great effort. Doris and Garry Ringrose topped our Scotland ratings, with 9/10 each. In the quarter final loss to New Zealand, Bundee Aki top scored with 9/10, with Tadhg Beirne getting 8. The rest had 6s and 7s.

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