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Player Ratings: Shades of Paddy's Day 2018 for Ireland

Ireland took on the old foe in Dublin on Saturday in both side's final match of the 2021 Guinness...

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

18:51 20 Mar 2021



Ireland took on the old foe in Dublin on Saturday in both side's final match of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.

In what would be the final chance for players from both sides to earn a spot in Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions squad, Andy Farrell's men showed that they deserve a look in at least.

After weathering the English storm, Ireland kicked into gear to lead by 14 points at half time. They held on to

Ireland player ratings

Dave Kilcoyne 5/10

Dave Kilcoyne was unfortunate to have been subbed off for an injury after only 20 minutes. While he was on the pitch, he successfully defended a scrum on his own 5m line, and helped out in defence to keep England out of his side's tryline.

Rob Herring 7/10

Rob Herring crucial part of the Irish gang tackle defence which shut the English attack down before it even started. The Ulster man was responsible for 11 tackles, without missing one, and helped distribute the ball out wide for the better ball carriers in the side.

Tadhg Furlong 7.5/10

Tadhg Furlong has been playing so much like a centre since his return that he may soon be running out in the number 13. He held the scrum steady, even more so once Cian Healy came on, and his attacking runs burst through the defensive line, before offloading to a well-placed support runner.

Furlong Ireland vs England Tadhg Furlong of Ireland is tackled by Mako Vunipola of England during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Iain Henderson 8/10

Iain Henderson started off well, making an important turnover, which eventually led to a scrum penalty that extended Ireland's early lead.

Henderson clearly missed his partner in the back row from a week ago, as England seemed to secure more of their own lineouts than would have been expected.

In the loose, Henderson mixed strong carries with lengthy runs, proving the mobility of the Irish pack outright.

Tadhg Beirne 7.5/10

Tadhg Beirne made full use of his time in the second row, adding mobility and an extra jackaler to the pack, while not skimping on his lineout duties either.

Despite not being able to secure as many English throws as James Ryan has done recently, Ireland's ball security on their own throw was in no small part due to the combination of Henderson and Beirne.

CJ Stander 7/10

On what would be his final match for Ireland, CJ Stander remained in his great form of recent weeks. Playing from the unfamiliar number six jersey, Stander did not make as many carries as he is used to making, however his work at the breakdown secured Irelands possession stats.

His cover defence was also on show, after he chased down Elliott Daly after he broke past Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki.

A great way to end things in the green jersey, as Stander was in tears following the final whistle.

Josh van der Flier 7.5/10

Josh van der Flier epitomised the Irish defensive effort on the day, most notably when he stripped the ball from Billy Vunipola in the tackle. He made upwards of nine tackles, and made himself a nuisance at the breakdown as well.

Jack Conan Try Ireland vs England Jack Conan of Ireland dives over to score his side's second try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Jack Conan 8/10

Jack Conan showed brilliant hands to tap the ball back to allow Keith Earls to break through for his try. He then shut the naysayers up about his physicality by bursting over two defenders on the way to score a try of his own.

He filled in well for the retiring CJ Stander in the number eight jersey, and formed a balanced back row to dominate the English in the physical stuff.

Conor Murray 6.5/10

Coming in for Jamison Gibson-Park, Conor Murray started off a little bit rusty, with an early mistake that almost cost Ireland if Bundee Aki was not there to clean up.

As the game went on, he showed his leadership on the pitch, kicked well and added to the breakdown dominance for the Irish, sometimes looking like an extra backrower.

If it were not for his yellow card for offsides in the dying minutes of the the match, he would be graded the same as Johnny Sexton.

Johnny Sexton 7/10

Johnny Sexton showed some differences to his usual game play a few weeks ago, however against England, the Sexton of 2018 showed up a number of times. He was calm and confident off the tee, and put in a number of clever kicks, which almost always paid off in some way.

Stockdale ireland vs england Jacob Stockdale of Ireland is tackled by Ollie Lawrence, left, and Anthony Watson of England during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Jacob Stockdale 7/10

After not appearing for Ireland since the Autumn Nations Cup, Jacob Stockdale may have been outshone by his teammate on the other side, but he did not let his side down himself.

Stockdale made a total of 35 metres in a match where not many made double figures, and he rarely died with the ball, often looking to move the ball on rather than go down with it, which freed up his teammates to score.

Bundee Aki 6/10

Bundee Aki's red card would have been seen in a completely different light if the result was different, as it came at a time where England could still fight their way back in it. Despite that, his 88% tackle success rate, some of which were massive gamebreaker tackles, and his distribution in the centres saved him from a low score.

Henshaw Ireland vs England Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Tom Curry of England during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Robbie Henshaw 8.5/10

Robbie Henshaw is in the form of his life. He put in some vital tackles in the first half, and had a number of powerful carries throughout the game. He was the official man of the match on the day, and has really put his hand up as a potential starter for the Lions.

Keith Earls 8.5/10

Keith Earls opened up the Irish try sheet by stepping one of the thorns in the Irish side over the past number of games, Johnny May. Although he only had one clean break and, Earls ran in 40 metres throughout the match, beat two defenders, and was no slouch on defence either.

Hugo Keenan 7.5/10

Hugo Keenan showed security as usual under the high ball, not dropping a single kick throughout the match, with one of his regathers leading almost directly to Jack Conan's try in the first half.

While Keenan did not light the world on fire on attack, his security at the back kept England out of the Irish half, and did not allow them to play their usual gameplan.

Notable replacement: Cian Healy 7/10

Cian Healy came on for Kilcoyne in the 20th minute, and immediately made an impact at the scrum. The key moment for Healy was his destruction of the English scrum along with Furlong in the 60th minute, which put Ireland 20 points ahead into the final quarter.

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Read more about

Andy Farrell British And Irish Lions Bundee Aki CJ Stander Conor Murray Dave Kilcoyne Eddie Jones England Hugo Keenan Iain Henderson Ireland Jack Conan Jacob Stockdale Johnny Sexton Josh Van Der Flier Keith Earls Rob Herring Robbie Henshaw Tadhg Beirne Tadhg Furlong Warren Gatland

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