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18th Oct 2015

Player Ratings for Ireland after World Cup dreams blown asunder by Argentina

A lesson in daring rugby

Patrick McCarry

It got extremely ugly at the end as Ireland fell at the quarter final for the sixth time in their less-than-glorious World Cup history.

With seven minutes to go, the Irish poured out to drown their sorrows, Argentinean journalists posed for selfies in the press box and white and blue scarves were whipped around in triumph. Ireland were thrashed 43-20 by the Pumas and must wait another four years to get another chance at history.

Here’s how we rated Joe Schmidt’s men in green.

Rob Kearney 5

Ask him questions under the high ball and he usually answers in the positive. Usually. Outpaced by Imhoff for his try but was always tough as he had to spin. Always a threat with ball in hand but badly kicked possession away shortly before Sanchez made it 23-20. Showed some left mitt to hold onto a bullet pass, behind him, from Henshaw. Imhoff left him for dead at the death.

Tommy Bowe 5

Tommy Bowe down injured 18/10/2015

Bounced in an early encounter with Senatore. Claimed a glorious restart to give us momentum after that second try. Went down with a bad knee injury and was stretchered off after 12 minutes.

Keith Earls 4

Argentina ate him for breakfast. Took another early knock and looked punch drunk for a while thereafter. Came into his own as the comeback was gradually mounted.

Robbie Henshaw 4

Tuculet led him a merry dance for one break. Knocked on, costly, after a hefty coming together with Hernandez. History repeated less than five minutes later. Nothing stuck except Argentineans, to his rib cage. Hounded Argentina at the breakdown but was not at the races for most of the day.

Dave Kearney 5

Okay in attack, dreadful in defence. Positivity and graft up and down his flank but little spark. Was brave to win Ireland a turnover [scrum put-in] on 30 minutes. Constantly wriggled extra metres. All with a dislocated finger too. However, he missed FIVE out of the nine tackles he attempted.

Ian Madigan 6

No fringe in his eyes when he claimed an early steepler to settle the nerves. Not so good, moments later, when Tuculet claimed a bomb to set Argentina on their way to their opening try. Denied a penalty after his quick tap. His banana kick after 20 minutes though?! Missed a key penalty kick that would have made it 20-13. Got his act together only to miss two vital kicks at goal. Kicking out on the full in the final quarter too.

Conor Murray 5

Pouched a loose ball in the lead-up to Fitzgerald’s try. Vital. Was all over Landajo to force another turnover off a creaking set-piece. His knock-on at the Irish scrum – on 67 minutes – proved so damaging as Tuculet scored minutes after.

Cian Healy 6

Ireland’s Cian Healy 18/10/2015

Bad, bad start to the scrum but, like so many others, sniffed the smelling salts. Decent in the loose but was severely tested by Herrera up front. The scrum started humming in the second half though and Healy was a big part of that.

Rory Best 6

Took about 25 minutes to wake up as he was rousted by the Argentines. Some sterling pounces and steals but was another tossed about at the breakdown. Secured a delightful turnover on 55 minutes with excellent breakdown work.

Mike Ross 5

The day the music died. Set himself all wrong for the opening try, which was a horror show. Staggered around the pitch when pace and aggression was needed. Picked it up from 30 to 50th minutes but was out of gas soon after.

Devin Toner 4

His missed tackle on Matera proved costly as Argentina spilled forward for their opener. Knocked on the second half kick-off to put Ireland deep in it. Carried with more intent after the break but gave away a penalty with a high tackle.

Iain Henderson 7

A rarity as he brought some bite to the contest. Timely intervention forced an Irish scrum in the Argentina 22 but they could not take advantage.

Jordi Murphy 6

Hard on the guy but this is what we feared. Does not have that manic streak of O’Mahony or hulking thrust of Henderson. Battled gamely but was eclipsed by so many others around him. Showed great legs and intelligent support for his try and secured a fine turnover outside the Irish 22, just after the hour mark.

Jordi Murphy Argentina

Chris Henry 6

Not the only Irish player to swat air rather than an Argentine back. Pinged for hands in the ruck to give away a stupid penalty. Secured a big turnover at the start of the second 40. Never stopped trying but it was not good enough.

Jamie Heaslip 7

Big, stand-up hit on Matera forced a turnover and an Irish scrum in the Argentine 22. Shame Ireland got moshed in it. Harshly penalised for not rolling away – but Sanchez had a rare miss. Could not put Henshaw into a midfield gap just before half-time.


Luke Fitzgerald 8

Ireland v Argentina - Quarter Final: Rugby World Cup 2015

[On for Bowe ’12] Laced in a superb try to give Ireland hope. As for his line break and pass for Murphy? Wow.

Jack McGrath 7

[On for Healy ’50] Made some monstrous hits in his opening stanzas and did fine in the scrum.

Nathan White 5

[On for Ross ’54] Needed every ounce he had to put it up to Argentina at the scrum.

Richardt Strauss 5

[On for Best ’66] Thought he was coming on to ball-carry but was needed to defend.

Eoin Reddan, Rhys Ruddock & Donnacha Ryan – N/A

Two World Cup debuts but all three came on too late to make a difference.

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