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Rugby

14th Mar 2021

Full Ireland ratings as usual suspects come up trumps at Murrayfield

Patrick McCarry

Ireland ratings

SCOTLAND 24-27 IRELAND

Johnny Sexton landed a touchline penalty with five minutes to go as Ireland broke Scottish hearts again. The Ireland ratings are dominated by the usual suspects.

Scotland came back from 24-10 down to level a pulsating tie, but Sexton’s penalty was enough to edge home at Murrayfield.

Ireland hit the front, early on, when Johnny Sexton popped over a penalty and then caused chaos in the Scots’ backline with a cross-field kick that Keith Earls contested before Robbie Henshaw dotted down.

Finn Russell reduced the arrears for the hosts when Tadhg Furlong was pinged for not rolling away, but worse was to follow for Ireland.

It started with a CJ Stander turnover that Garry Ringrose tried to hack clear only to get blocked by Stuart Hogg. The Scottish fullback hacked on and the ball bobbled up for Finn Russell despite the desperate attempts of Rob Herring and James Lowe. The Racing outhalf converted his own try and the Scots edged in front.

Ireland responded well, however, and Sexton knocked over two well won penalties to put them 14-10 ahead at the break.

Another Sexton penalty, followed by a try from the excellent Tadhg Beirne saw Ireland stretch their lead to 24-10 with 25 minutes to go. The introduction of Huw Jones, though, had an instant impact for Gregor Townsend’s side.

A sweeping move gave Jones a look and he power over after cutting in from the right-hand touchline, but Lowe was soft in defence. Hogg stepped up and landed the conversion to make it 24-17.

Hamish Watson showed immense strength to power over for a score that made it 24-24 but Sexton’s kick in the final minutes won it.

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

Hugo Keenan – 6

A couple of good takes and carries but has had better days. Would not blame him for the Jones try, but he still had two missed tackles from six attempted.

Keith Earls – 7

Forced the Scottish error that led to the Henshaw try. Fought like a tiger all afternoon. Stunning up-and-under claim, late in the piece.

Garry Ringrose – 6

Poor decision to hack clear, straight into Hogg’s chest, for the Finn Russell try. His fleet feet won his side a few extra metres on carries.

Robbie Henshaw – 8

Started and finished the move in the Scottish 22 for Ireland’s opener. Big tackle on van der Merwe along the sideline. Huge defence all day long.

James Lowe – 4

Just not going his way at all. Exposed in defence again and question marks over him for the Russell and Jones tries. Poor forward pass, on 65 minutes, summed up his afternoon.

Johnny Sexton – 8

So crucial to his team’s chances. Kick in behind the Scots was not perfect but still forced the try. His kicking off the tee was brilliant.

Jamison Gibson-Park – 7.5

Was turned over by Hamish Watson with a solo dart for the tryline. Was left on for the entire 80 minutes and looked unflustered in the final stages.

Cian Healy – 7.5

Had the better of WP Nel in the first three scrums, but the tighthead got his own back, late in the half.

Rob Herring – 7

Blessed his sliding tackle on Russell, before his try, did not connect. Lineout throwing was a lot better today.

Tadhg Furlong – 7

Those side-steps were a joy to behold. Carries like that, and his passing – aside from his solid scrummaging – are why he has shifted Porter out of the starting XV.

Iain Henderson – 9

A menace at the lineout when the Scots were throwing and solid on Irish ball. Bounced by Watson for his try. Responded by winning his side a crucial penalty. Stuck 20 tackles.

James Ryan – 7

Two lineout steals in the first half and another mountain of work got through.

Tadhg Beirne – 8

Emptied the tank for 63 minutes. Two turnovers and a penalty won for his side, as well as his second try of the championship. Ireland’s best forward again.

Will Connors – 8

A huge shift from Connors as he made a series of big, bruising carries. Made a try-saving tackle on van der Merwe, out wide.

CJ Stander – 7

Once again topped the charts for Irish carries – hard yards gained – and won a first half turnover.

REPLACEMENTS

Andrew Porter (for Furlong ’55) – 5

Dave Kilcoyne (for Healy ’55) – 6

Ronan Kelleher (for Herring) – 5

Replaced Herring and had a crooked liineout throw soon after.

Jack Conan (for Beirne ’64) – 6

Jordan Larmour (foe Lowe ’67) – 6

Ryan Baird (for James Ryan) – 7

Great block and tackle in the corner.

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