Full Ireland ratings as Ronan Kelleher inspires USA thrashing
IRELAND 71-10 USA
Ronan Kelleher was the star man for Ireland as they ran amok on USA with an ambitious, attacking performance. Our full Ireland ratings reflect some great individual outings.
The Americans started brightly and turned down some kickable penalties as they sought an early try, only to be repelled and then breached.
The first try of the game was pure bliss as James Hume ran a dummy Joey Carbery timed his pass and Robert Baloucoune did the rest. As first ever Test tries go, this takes some beating:
The Irish pack took over for the rest of a lively half. While Carbery and Andrew Conway had some nice moments, Ireland's forwards were making pressure tell on the scoreboard. Ronan Kelleher and Nick Timoney got over for rolling maul tries and Kelleher got a second after Conway and Carbery linked up, down the left.
Kelleher, who had trained with the Lions squad for two weeks, completed his hat-trick early in the second half and it was just a matter of how ruthless the hosts wanted to be. The Americans' case was massively hampered by Riekert Hattingh receiving a red card for a high shot on Kelleher.
The Leinster hooker dusted himself off to get a fourth try before he was called ashore. Stuart McCloskey and Hugo Keenan added to the USA's misery with fine finishes in the final 20 minutes.
The referee denied Gavin Coombes what looked to be a certain try, but the Munster man make sure of it, soon after, when he crashed over, out wide. Finlay Bealham wrapped up the try-scoring and Will Addison pinged over a touchline conversion with the final act.
Here's how we rated Andy Farrell's men in green:
Hugo Keenan - 7
Scampering run and nice awareness to make a break then tee up Kelleher for his second try. Showed off his own blistering pace with his kick-chase try. Has really made the 15 jersey his own.
Robert Baloucoune - 8
Announced himself to the Test stage with a stunning, slaloming try. Gas for days. Made a staggering 128 metres off his nine carries.
James Hume - 7
Ran a committed dummy line to suck in defenders for that Baloucoune try. Can be pleased with his performance. Ran some good lines and had a couple of clean breaks.
Stuart McCloskey - 7
Started and finished his try. A constant source of front-foot ball with his carries. Passing was crisp and tackled well.
Andrew Conway - 8
Was making metres for fun out there. Maybe should have passed to Baloucoune, early on, instead of going to ground. His grubber for himself, up the touchline, put Keenan away for Kelleher's second try. Brought his back of tricks to Dublin today. Made 94 metres off seven carries but was subbed at half-time.
Joey Carbery - 7
Put Conway away for a 40-metre gain with a nice offload. Not long after, his feint to Hume then put Baloucoune away. Looked a step up from last weekend's game against the USA.
Craig Casey - 7
Puts real fizz on the ball. Made a few snipes to keep the USA honest but was mostly pinging the left and right, and bossing his pack around.
Dave Kilcoyne - 7
Carried with menacing intent. 24 metres made off six carries, bouncing a couple of tacklers and got through his defensive folio.
Ronan Kelleher - 9
Failed to find Ryan with two of his first three throws. When the lineout started clicking, it led to a rolling maul try that he finished off. Rewarded for his support run as Keenan put him in for his second try.
Tom O’Toole - 6
Showed up in a few attacks and acquitted himself well around the park. Part of that rolling maul heavy crew that did damage.
Ryan Baird - 6
Showed up well in attack and jumped well in the lineout. Missed a couple of tackles.
James Ryan - 7
A couple of sloppy moments in the opening exchanges. Irish lineout was very shaky in the first 20 minutes as Ryan failed to collect twice. Got a handle on it, though, and it led to some handy rolling maul tries.
Caelan Doris - 6
Won his side a huge penalty inside the Ireland 22 to relieve some USA pressure. Lost the ball forward within sight of the USA tryline. Did the same again just before the break. Made 40 metres off six carries, including one line break.
Nick Timoney - 7
Finished off a rolling maul try for his debut try. Made a few strong carries and stuck all his tackles.
Gavin Coombes - 8
The Americans would soon stop kicking restarts to him, as he invariably made back a glut of metres or made a pass or offload to put a teammate away. Ireland's top tackler. Got a richly deserved try in the final 10 minutes.
Will Addison (for Conway '40) - 7
Looked lively when he came on. Ulster and Ireland fans will be hoping he stays fit next season.
Ed Byrne (for Kilcoyne '54) - 6
Dave Heffernan (for Kelleher '54) - 6
Paul Boyle (for Timony '54) - 5
Harry Byrne (for Carbery '54) - 6
We'll be seeing plenty of him in green, in the coming years.
Fineen Wycherley (for Baird '56) - 6
Caolin Blade (for Casey '59) - 5
Finlay Bealham (for O'Toole '72) - 7
Helped himself to his second Ireland try in two games at the very end.
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY'S LIONS SERIES: EPISODE 3