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29th Nov 2020

Full player ratings as Ireland serve up rugby fit for empty stadium

Patrick McCarry

Ireland ratings


Andy Farrell’s men badly struggled against a game but limited Georgian side as they secured an Autumn Nations Cup finalé with Scotland. Our Ireland ratings reflect a tough day at the office.

Ireland started brightly as Billy Burns cruised over for his first Test try after a sumptuous Chris Farrell pass. Burns then added a penalty to make it 10-0 before Georgia No.13 Giorgi Kveseladze blitzed in a wonderful score.

Burns added another penalty before Jacob Stockdale’s skip pass presented Hugo Keenan with a handy try-scoring chance that he gleefully took. Stockdale had a harsh forward pass call against him that ended up costing Stuart McCloskey a try and left the Georgians still fighting as they headed in at the break.

Not for the first time during this international window, Ireland flagged badly after the break and it was Georgia that looked the brighter in that third quarter. They tagged three points back before Ross Byrne added three more for the hosts.

That was it for the scoreboard operator as Georgia defended stoutly and left Ireland with yet more tough questions to answer.

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

Jacob Stockdale – 5

Fluffed an early grubber attempt and then was caught out by the dummy pass by Giorgi Kveseladze when he raced in his brilliant try. Business picked up after that as he put a try on a plate for Keenan. Looked to have done the same for McCloskey, off his other side, but his pass was harshly called forward. Put too much pepper on a grubber kick through for Daly.

Hugo Keenan – 6

Made one stunning aerial take, midway through the first half. Rewarded for staying wide as the forwards pounded away, as he flopped over for a try in the right-hand corner.

Chris Farrell – 5

Showed lovely hands to tee up Burns for Ireland’s opening try. His passing was the best part about his game as the Georgians shut down his full-bore carries.

Stuart McCloskey – 7

Had the ball dislodged inside the Georgia 22 on an early carry. Great kick in behind the Lelos’ defence just before the half-hour mark. Denied a try at the end of the first half thanks to a harsh forward pass call.

Keith Earls – 5

Came close to scoring twice in the opening 30 minutes. Another day of nearlys and maybes but not getting a lot of decent ball.

Billy Burns – 7.5

Took a nice line and teamed up superbly with Farrell to bag the opening try. Smart kicks and passes all afternoon. Looked very comfortable out there until he limped off after 45 minutes.

Conor Murray – 6

Picked up a knock to his calf, early on, but kept going. Brought out the box-kick on a few occasions in the first half but was much more content to fizz passes after that. Knocked on on one carry early in the second half. Should back himself more on snips, like he used to at his peak.

Finlay Bealham – 5

Adventures all afternoon as Ireland and Georgia traded scrum penalties. Should have passed to Murray, close in, but carried and was held up short of the tryline.

Rob Herring – 5

His laboured pass to Earls held up a promising attack and denied the winger what should have been a simple try. Involved in a scrummaging dog-fight with the Georgians and worked hard in the loose. Had to play the full 80 after Connors shipped a blow.

Andrew Porter – 6

Held up his end of the bargain at scrum time. Stuck his tackles and cleared rucks with force.

Iain Henderson – 6

Brought a lot of physicality and intent to drive his man back in the tackle as he finally got his first start of this run of games.

James Ryan – 5

Good maul defence saw him win his team a turnover. Good handling to keep a couple of attacks alive but did not gain much ground on his carries.

Tadhg Beirne – 6

Enjoyed himself out there and was a menace at the breakdown. Missed Kveseladze as he embarked on his try-scoring slalom.

Will Connors – 5

Didn’t have his best day out there and made little ground on his carries. A couple of nice offloads in the second half.

CJ Stander – 6

Didn’t have it all his own way out there but achieved his primary task of providing go-forward ball. A few bullocking runs but the Georgians stood up to him, for the most part. In like a demon to make a great turnover, 10 minutes in. Himself and Beirne were undone by Kveseladze at the start of his epic try run.


John Ryan (for Porter ’40) – 5

Scrum woes worsened after he replaced Porter.

Ross Byrne (for Burns ’45) – 4

Nowhere near as effective or impactful as Burns.

Kieran Marmion (for Murray ’56) – 5

Came on to find his pack struggling at scrum and breakdown. Tough going.

Cian Healy (for Bealham ’56) – 6

Came into a real scrap with his sleeves rolled up.

Quinn Roux (for James Ryan ’61) – 5

Peter O’Mahony (for Beirne ’61) – 5

Good turnover right at the death.

Shane Daly (for Earls ’64) – 5

Dave Heffernan (for Connors ’66) – 5

Came on for Daly after he went off for a H.I.A.



Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O’Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu and more.


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