One Ireland star tops our player ratings after Wales put to bed early
IRELAND 32-9 WALES
Just like that, Ireland have put themselves in contention for another piece of silverware. A solid Autumn Nations Cup performance and lots up high in our player ratings.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was forced into a quick re-shuffle to his match-day squad as both Jacob Stockdale and Iain Henderson were ruled out. In came Quinn Roux (for Henderson) and Andrew Conway (for Stockdale) with Tadhg Beirne coming onto the bench.
The first half saw Ireland dominate in the scrum and look like the only team capable of scoring tries. Roux got over the tryline, midway through the half, while Johnny Sexton - before he limped off injured - added a conversion and three penalties.
It was more of the same, after the break, as Ireland turned the screw and, through Billy Burns and Conor Murray, kicked their team out of sight. The cherry on top was delivered by James Lowe with his team's second try of the night, with the final play.
Here's how we rated Andy Farrell's men in green:
Hugo Keenan - 8
Had to switch to fullback shortly before kick-off as Jacob Stockdale was ruled out. Solid at the back and made a couple of good aerial takes. Penalised for holding on after Jonathan Davies got hold of him. Made a fine tackle on the rampaging Justin Tipuric to protect his tryline.
Andrew Conway - 7
Up against the considerable Josh Adams out on the wing, he was twice muscled out over the sideline as he attempted to score in the corner. Excellent and disruptive on the kick-chase again.
Chris Farrell - 6
10 carries, lots of hard yards gained and holes punched. Had one chance to stretch the Welsh out wide but hesitated slightly and the defence caught up. Some meaty tackles in defence.
Robbie Henshaw - 7
Combative performance from the Leinster centre but did not get much purchase with his carries. Solid in defence.
James Lowe - 8
Started brightly with a good kick-chase followed by a clean aerial take. Got into it with half the Welsh team in the first half but also made a couple of nice line-breaks. Got a well-deserved try at the end.
Johnny Sexton - 6
Penalised early doors, if somewhat harshly, for a high tackle. Business picked up after that and he pulled out a lovely grubber kick nut-meg at one stage. His night ended after only 28 minutes, though, after he tweaked his hamstring.
Jamison Gibson-Park - 7.5
When Ireland got quick breakdown ball, Gibson-Park looked supreme. Went about his business serenely. A live option to start against England.
Cian Healy - 8
Another good scrummaging game from Healy and he was lively in the loose too. Will be angry with himself that he was held up over the Welsh tryline after Doris' block-down and pass.
Ronan Kelleher - 7.5
Decent outing for Kelleher. Showed nice hands to pouch a poor Welsh lineout and was part of an Irish front row that dominated.
Andrew Porter - 9
Man of the match stuff from Porter. Had his opposite number subbed off before half-time after chewing him up at scrum-time. Did a number on his replacement too.
Quinn Roux - 8
His best game in the green jersey. Added ballast and meaning to the Ireland scrum, had a lineout steal and heaved over for his side's first half try.
James Ryan - 7
All industry and intent as he horsed it into Wales. Made a number of strong carries but was denied close in by the Welsh. Got up well to contest a couple of lineouts. Took over the captaincy after Sexton departed.
Peter O'Mahony - 8
Was disappointed with himself for losing control of the ball on one carry. Got in for two breakdown turnovers and was at his feisty best for most of the night. A nuisance at the lineout for Wales too.
Josh van der Flier - 6
A quiet enough night at the office. Did a lot of his work around the breakdown as he thumped in on clear-outs and slowed down Welsh ball.
Caelan Doris - 8
Will be happy with that outing in the No.8 jersey. Got his team on the front-foot with a couple of bruising carries. Was penalised in the second half for not releasing but his charge-down and pass through the legs to Cian Healy was wonderful back-row play.
Billy Burns (for Sexton '28) - 7
Lovely fizz on his pass. Arrowed a couple of to his wingers to give them one-on-ones. Was looking good until he picked up an injury in the final quarter.
Ed Byrne (for Healy '60) - 6
Dave Heffernan ('64) - 6
Finlay Bealham ('64) - 7
Won a great turnover near the Welsh tryline.
Tadhg Beirne ('64) - 6
Conor Murray (for Burns '64) - 7
On as outhalf for the final 15 minutes. Slotted over two penalties.
Will Connors (for van der Flier '68) - 7
On to chop tackle and win turnovers, as per usual.
Keith Earls (for Henshaw '70) - 5
Handy sub to have. Good to see him back.
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