Full Ireland player ratings as world champions South Africa outgunned in thriller 10 months ago

Full Ireland player ratings as world champions South Africa outgunned in thriller


Ireland sent a big message to world champions South Africa with a hard-fought win at Aviva Stadium. Our Ireland South Africa player ratings are full of home heroes.


The first half was as brutal, gritty and thankless as you could get. Ireland went into an early lead but were pegged back, as both sides threw everything they could at the opposition.

There was a big moment of controversy, when Cheslin Kolbe and Pieter Steph du Toit teamed up to dump tackle Mack Hansen. After several TMO replays, it was decided to just yellow card Kolbe. That decision was driven home when Kolbe returned at 3-3.

Johnny Sexton did add another Irish penalty but a Kolbe response, off the tee, had the score level at the break. A sign of the attritional style of the first 40 minutes was four players - Stuart McCloskley, Tadhg Furlong, Conor Murray and Lood de Jager - not making the whistle for the second half.

Ireland South Africa player ratings Ireland players, from left, James Ryan, Tadhg Furlong and Dan Sheehan celebrate their side winning a penalty. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Ireland hit their stride

Ireland already had three replacements on, after 40 minutes, but they were the team that took the match by the scruff of the neck, in the third quarter.

They boldly went for a rolling maul when they had a penalty awarded to them, and were rewarded when Josh van der Flier - with barely an inch to spare - crashed over to score. Four minutes later and a brilliant team move saw Mack Hansen score, over in the left-hand corner. The only downside was Sexton missing both conversions.


South Africa brought on the likes of Willie Le Roux and Faf de Klerk, and roared back with a Franco Mostert try that set up a close finish. Johnny Sexton nailed a 73rd minute penalty, though, and there were eight points in it.

A sublime Eben Etzebeth offload put Kurt-Lee Arendse over in the corner and, though Kolbe missed his conversion, it was tight again but Ireland closed it out well.


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

Ireland players ratings

Hugo Keenan - 8

A couple of nice takes, early on. Conceded a penalty after receiving a hospital pass and getting dumped by Mapimpi. Made some bold carries, from deep, in the second half.

Robert Baloucoune - 7


Showed good composure to get away passes under serious pressure. Made some great defensive reads.

Garry Ringrose - 8

Ireland South Africa player ratings

Lovely aerial take that helped Ireland win an early penalty. Put in a great shift, marshalling the Irish backline in defence and making some punchy carries.

Stuart McCloskey - 7

His undoubted strength showed with one carry that got his side out of a hole. Won his team a massive turnover inside their 22, on 15 minutes. Was going well, but a shoulder injury saw him leave the fray after 26 minutes.

Mack Hansen - 8

Was lucky to escape injury after getting dumped on his head and neck by Kolbe and du Toit. Competed well in the air, chased hard and held his width well to be rewarded with his try.

Johnny Sexton - 6

Some good tackles in defence. Was swallowed up and conceded a penalty, on one first half carry. Needed treatment, early in the second half. Missed two touchline conversions and should have kicked for touch, moments before the Mostert try. Landed a late penalty to give his side a cushion.

Conor Murray - 8

First box-kick had the Boks in trouble, and conceding a penalty. Split-second too slow at a breakdown and knocked on, under pressure from Jasper Wiese. Brilliant show-and-go line break, on 32 minutes. Looked to have pulleed his hamstring before his 33rd minute exit.

Andrew Porter - 8

A really big day at the scrum for Porter, and he only enhanced his reputation. Busy across the park for his 68-minute shift.

Dan Sheehan - 7

So close to an incredible try, but he knocked on before grounding on his second bite at the cherry. Nine tackles made, none missed. Lineout wobbled on a couple of occasions.

Tadhg Furlong - 7

Put in one hell of a shift, in defence and on both sides of the breakdown. Only last 40 minutes as his tender ankle gave out.

Tadhg Beirne - 7

Lovely hands in the lead-up to the Hansen try. Made a now customary turnover and stuck 10 tackles.

James Ryan - 8

Put in some huge, early hits. Big lineout steal. Needed running repairs at the end of an unrelenting half.

Ireland South Africa player ratings

Peter O'Mahony - 8

Was well, well, well up for this one, and gave anyone in earshot both barrels. Won his side a breakdown penalty in the first half. Won another big one, after the break.

Josh van der Flier - 9

How he stayed in touch, and got the ball grounded for his try, only he could tell you. Kept his head amid the heaving din. Stepped up with a number of key carries, and tackles. Topped the Irish tackle count, on 16.

Caelan Doris - 9

Was teaming up with Ryan to lay in some big hits, and standing up to a stern Springbok test, in defence. Big turnover won in the first half, and two more after the break.


Jimmy O'Brien (for McCloskey '26) - 8

Showed up really well for the Hansen try, and timed his pass well. Made some big defensive hits.

Jamison Gibson-Park (for Murray '33) - 8

Great break helped set up the Hansen try. Made one loose box-kick but made up for it by taking down Wiese.

Finlay Bealham (for Furlong '40) - 8

Won a scrum penalty in one of his first acts on the field. One loose pull-back pass had his team in bother.

Rob Herring (for Sheehan '63) - 7

Steady presence.

Kieran Treadwell (for Beirne '64) - 6

Stuck four tackles but missed two.

Cian Healy (for Porter '68) - 6

Jack Conan (for O'Mahony '68) - 6

Threw himself straight into it.

Joey Carbery (for Sexton '76) N/A