Two men top player ratings as Ireland tear Samoa to shreds 11 months ago

Two men top player ratings as Ireland tear Samoa to shreds


Ireland took 38 minutes to secure the try-scoring bonus point that effectively sealed their place in the World Cup quarter final. Even with just 14 men on the pitch, they kept the pedal floored.

Ireland have made a happy habit of starting fast in this World Cup and they were 14-0 after Johnny Sexton converted tries from Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong.

Johnny Sexton scored two tries of his own, either side of a Jack Lam dot-down and a red card to Bundee Aki - and Ireland led 26-5 at the break.

Johnny Sexton is congratulated on his first try. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Ireland opted to keep on their big guns for the first 10 minutes of the second half as they sought to put the Samoan resistance to bed. It paid off as Conor Murray slung a flat pass to Jordan Larmour before Sexton converted that try, to make it 33-5, in his final action of the match.

The game was put to bed and tucked in when CJ Stander and his Munster teammate Andrew Conway added two tries - converted by Joey Carbery - in the last quarter.

Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green:

Jordan Larmour - 9

Would love to see him taking on more carries, rather than punting it for territory, but he came into his own when Ireland were down to 14 men. Took a great outside line and passed inside for Sexton's try and stayed wide for his score in the second half.

LARMOUR STATS: 17 carries for 65 metres gained, 12 defenders beaten and two clean breaks. Two tackles made (0 missed).

Keith Earls - 5

One superb aerial take aside, it was a quiet game for the Munster winger. The forwards hogged the ball and Earls only got his hands on the ball on five occasions.

Robbie Henshaw - 5

We were hoping Henshaw would roar into the tournament but it was more of a polite cough. Four carries for eight metres and two handling errors but there was a nice line break in the first half.

Bundee Aki - 3

Some strong carries in his 28 minutes but his red card dunt on outhalf Ulupano Seuteni was rash. He knew he had made an error and that error could well end his World Cup.

Bundee Aki

Jacob Stockdale - 6

Was all about the forwards this evening and they kept a greedy hold of it when Ireland were down to 14 men. As a result, Earls and Stockdale were not overly involved.

Johnny Sexton - 9

Once again, the music maker for Ireland. Has been one of the tournament's best 10s and he proved that again in Fukuoka. Two tries, four conversions from five [three of them out near the sidelines] and his only blip was over-pumping one penalty kick out of hand.

Conor Murray - 7

His box-kicks caused trouble for Samoa in the first half and his passing had real zip when required. Lovely, flat pass for that Larmour try.

Cian Healy - 6

Nine carries in 56 minutes on the pitch and he scrummaged well. Guilty of a couple of sloppy, missed tackles in the first half.

Rory Best - 6.5

Scored his 12th Test try in his 37th Test as Ireland captain, surpassing the great Keith Wood with that captaincy tally. Missed a couple of tackles but set-pieces looked a lot better.

Tadhg Furlong - 8

44 minutes of Furlong at his best, and he's hard to stop when he is at his best. Has now scored three tries in his last five Test outings. With Larmour, he led the way on clean breaks (2) and made 25 metres off seven carries.

Iain Henderson - 5

All slog but little reward with ball in hand. Eight carries for a grand total of 0 metres. Hit 30+ rucks again, though.

James Ryan - 7

Great lineout steal in the first half and a number of strong carries. A lot of grunt work done around the breakdown. Like Henderson, his carries were not for much ground.

Tadhg Beirne - 7

15 carries from the Munster forward in a work-horse performance. Was an evening for hard graft and he was not found wanting.

Josh van der Flier - 8

Late rip from Samoan paws summed up his 80+ minute performance that was full pelt from start to finish. Ireland's top tackler and was superb in attacking and defensive breakdowns.

CJ Stander - 8

Came in for some fierce, targeted hits by the Samoans, on carries, but he never shied away. Made an astonishing 22 carries (for 26 metres), won his side a smart turnover in the second half and was rewarded for his efforts with a try.


Andrew Porter (for Furlong '44) - 8

Won a big scrum penalty on 60 minutes. Made another big steal in the final minutes.

Joey Carbery (for Johnny Sexton '50) - 7

Nice dink to tee up that Conway try. Landed a couple of sweet conversions.

Niall Scannell (for Rory Best '50) - 5

Luke McGrath (for Conor Murray '52) - 5

Tidy enough.

Jean Kleyn (for James Ryan '56) - 6

Came on and helped Porter with that shunt to win a scrum penalty. TMO (correctly) denied him a try.

Dave Kilcoyne (for Cian Healy '56) - 5

Peter O'Mahony (for Tadhg Beirne '60) - 7

Won his side a nice turnover on 68 minutes.

Andrew Conway (for Henshaw '61) - 7

Scored in the right-hand corner after haring onto a Carbery dink.


The latest episode sees Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery take on all the latest from the Rugby World Cup and discuss Ireland typhoon worries.