Chris Farrell tops Ireland ratings Conor Murray and CJ Stander not far off 1 year ago

Chris Farrell tops Ireland ratings Conor Murray and CJ Stander not far off

IRELAND 37-27 WALES

Ireland are 3 from 3 after a nerve-jangler in Dublin.

Chris Farrell and Jacob Stockdale were crucial in keeping Ireland's Grand Slam hopes alive.

The entire nation fretted, in the first half, as Johnny Sexton missed three kicks at goal and Gareth Davies got over after a rare Welsh foray forward. It was looking bleak - a Jacob Stockdale try aside - until Bundee Aki bashed over for his second Test try and Sexton converted to leave it 15-13 at the break.

The second half started much better for Ireland as they scored early through Dan Leavy, following good work from Rob Kearney and Keith Earls on the right wing. Ireland had the try-scoring bonus point secured after 53 minutes, when Cian Healy got over but Wales hit back through Aaron Shingler tee up a grandstand finish.

Ireland looked home and hosed when Conor Murray landed a late penalty but Steff Evans shredded some nerves by scoring soon after the restart. And then Jacob Stockdale pounced to seal it with his eighth try in seven Tests. Some game!

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

Rob Kearney - 7.5

Was up for this one...

Lost out to Biggar on one aerial challenge and gave up a penalty for kicking the ball away [got done by the big screen replay there]. First half was not his finest 40 minutes but, pro that he is, he started the second half well and made a line break that eventually led to Leavy's score. Made a great counter with 10 minutes left on the clock. Just about clung onto George North's jersey soon after. Just about.

Keith Earls - 8

One sensational break in the first half that cut Wales to ribbons. Great support for Kearney after his break, ahead of that Leavy try. Relished the aerial battles and followed up with a great tackle on Steff Evans after one joust. Close with a chip, hack and chase that had Wales in a tizzy.

Chris Farrell - 9

Will have enjoyed that early kick-chase and hit on Leigh Halfpenny. Made metres and got his team on the front-foot all afternoon with some big carries. Was constantly used for carries to punch holes and gain his team momentum and did not disappoint. Great hands too. The only time he lost the ball, Wales conceded a penalty for not releasing. Made a crucial Scott Williams tackle, late on.

Bundee Aki - 7

Gave away an early penalty for offside after an Earls knock-on. School-boy stuff. Then conceded another for deliberately blocking and laying out Gareth Davies. Came back with a bang with a brutal, bashing carry for his try.

Jacob Stockdale - 8

Benefited from a gem of a Sexton pass to get over in the corner. Was out-foxed by Gareth Davies for his try but Ireland were left facing a four-on-two overlap for that. Made great metres up the left flank after a hospital pass from Leavy. Superb high take just before half-time. Sealed it with his second try.

Johnny Sexton - 7

Missed an early, easy penalty in front of the posts. Made up for it with a beauty of a flat, zippy pass for Stockdale's try.

Missed his next two kicks at goal but had some beautiful passes and kicks after that. Will have been thankful that he got two simple kicks in front of the posts as the first half ended. Came to the fore in the second half - in attack and defence - and set a fierce tempo for his team. Big tackles on Gareth Davies and Ross Moriarty.

Conor Murray - 8

Teamed up well with O'Mahony to win his side a handy penalty. Superb juggling kept attack alive in the lead-up to Leavy's try. Landed a late penalty to get his team breathing space. The beating heart of this team.

Cian Healy - 8

Won his team an excellent penalty, early on, but Sexton missed a simple one. Powered over from close range for the bonus point try.

Rory Best - 7

Alun Wyn Jones picked off a long Best lineout throw. As ever, good chats with the referee all match.

Andrew Porter - 7

Solid enough game. Did well enough in the scrum, lifted well, made six tackles, missed none and nine carries that got minimal gains.

James Ryan - 8

Levelled Ross Moriarty with a big tackle, early on. Did well to take two men away from the breakdown before Healy's try. 12 big carries.

Devin Toner - 7

Lineout beacon again and busy at the breakdown. Not used much for carries but tackled with gusto.

Peter O'Mahony - 7

Won his side an early penalty with some strong lineout work. Did well to stay on his feet, and peel around tw Welsh men in their 22 just before one of Ireland's penalties.

Dan Leavy - 8

Picked a fine time to open his try-scoring account for Ireland. Won his side a big penalty when they were 10-5 down and under pressure. Made one big carry that got his team flooding forward.

CJ Stander - 8

Ran over Ken Owens on one bullish charge with ball-in-hand. Carried and cleared out rucks like a man possessed.

REPLACEMENTS

McGrath (for Healy '63) - 6

McFadden (for Earls '63) - 5

Knocked on badly with 10 minutes to go.

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

John Ryan (for Porter '66) - 7

Won a huge, huge scrum penalty.

Sean Cronin (for Best '69) - 5

Quinn Roux (for Toner '74) - 5