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16th Nov 2014

Player ratings – Ireland’s second half superstars

We rate the fifteen who were given the chance for Ireland today

Darragh Murphy

A tale of two halves at the Aviva. Today was always going to have the feel of a friendly but there was nothing friendly about Ireland’s 40 points in the second half.

Felix Jones – (8) Came alive in the second half. Flourished when Georgian legs began to tire and ran in two tries, the second of which was an absolute beauty.

Craig Gilroy – (6) Didn’t do a whole lot wrong to warrant giving him a bad game. But at the same time, he did a whole lot less than sparkle. A competent performance.

Darren Cave – (7) The Ulster man ran well, broke a few tackles and set up a flowing passing move with Reddan and Ryan. Almost touched down after kicking the ball into his own path but was just beaten to the line.

Gordon D’Arcy – (6) Heartbreaking to admit that his legs have gone ever so slightly. Defensively he almost left Zebo exposed in the first half allowing space for three men to run at the Munster winger. Going forward, he looked to have room to take the ball down the touchline but didn’t have the pep in his legs that he once had.

Simon Zebo – (7) A game to expect from him. Some flashes of brilliance, some refusal to pass and an obligatory try. He collected high balls without fault, but too often attempted to sidestep his way into nothing other than a tackle.

Ian Madigan (9) Yet another sublime kicking performance. The Leinster out half saw eight of his 10 kicks sail between the posts. With ball in hand he was the middle man in some fantastic passing moves. Our MOTM.

Ian Madigan kicks a penalty 16/11/2014

Eoin Reddan (8) He’s had better games and he’s had worse games but today goes down as a success for captain Reddan. His passing from rucks and scrums was almost flawless and he dictated the pace of the game, slowing it and speeding it up as he saw fit.

Dave Kilcoyne (8) One of the best games for him in an Ireland shirt. His first half jinking run was the closest Ireland came to breaking Georgia down before the break. His efforts were duly rewarded in the second half as he scored the first try for Schmidt’s side.

Richardt Strauss (7) Similar performance to that of Kilcoyne. The pair of them ground down the Georgians in every area, whether they were running at them, tackling them or scrummaging. From the back of a maul, he patiently timed it before touching down in the corner. He’s had better days for Leinster in terms of lineout ball but he’s still improving.

Mike Ross (7) Scrummaged well, forcing some penalties from Georgia. Professional performance in the first half. Was replaced early in the second.

Dave Foley (8) Was a monster in the lineout, winning balls for fun and was announced as the official man of the match for his troubles. A very promising debut for the Munster second row. Could slot seamlessly into Paul O’Connell’s shoes. No pressure.

A general view of Dave Foley's jersey 16/11/2014

Mike McCarthy (7) Flew under the radar for his hour on the pitch. Hard to fault the forwards for the lack of action in the first half and he was his usual workhorse self.

Dominic Ryan (7) Another impressive performance from a debutant. He reacted and tackled well when Georgian players broke from their lineouts. He put forward one surging run after Reddan played him into space.

Tommy O’Donnell (6) He could have gone over in the first half after a powerful carry saw him touch down but replays showed that he had let the ball slip out just before making contact with the grass. Possible lack of concentration in a relatively quiet game but carried well at rucks.

Robbie Diack (7) Put in the kind of strong runs that Irish number 8s have become famous for. Was released well by Gordon D’Arcy before setting off on a charge that saw him stopped at the Georgian 10m line. Tackled well at important times as is to be expected of him at this stage.


Sean Cronin (on for Strauss ’62) (7) – Had a few decent runs, one in particular after being played into space by Copeland.

Jack McGrath (unused)

Rodney Ah You (on for Ross ’46) (8) Looked a beast from the minute he was introduced. Human embodiment of raw power.

Devin Toner (on for Foley ’62) (7) Didn’t feature prominently but did contribute a massive hit when Georgia were applying pressure.

Robin Copeland (on for McCarthy ’62) (7) The man responsible for Jones’ second try after putting in a huge rip from Georgian possession.

Kieran Marmion (on for Reddan ’62) (6) Nothing much to take note of from him, which I suppose is a positive for a scrum-half.

Ian Keatley ( on for D’Arcy ’62) (7) Played his part in the 80m break that led to Jones’ second try.

Stuart Olding ( on for Zebo ’62) (8) Battle between him and Ah You for “Best off the bench”. Showed a clean pair of heels to Georgia when he broke free for a try unscathed after latching onto a gorgeous reverse pass.

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