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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 1 September, 2014

Marks out of 10: How Ireland’s players rated against Scotland

After a disappointing second half in Edinburgh, we ran the rule over our 23.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Rob Kearney  - 5

Took to the field with a point to prove against his in-form lions rival, but could not find the form that lit up last year’s tournament. A shadow of the player, unable to his will behind a

Craig Gilroy – 5

Limited opportunity to make hay when it’s Tim Visser covering outside, but constant footwork makes him an extremely difficult man to tackle and he found space to score crucial try.

Brian O’Driscoll – 6

No line breaks, but ran a support line that could have yielded a try. Passed well and marshaled a defence without much fuss, looked like he missed the leadership duty as he deferred decisions at the end.

Luke Marshall – 6

Two massive breaks in the first 10 minutes to settle the nerves. Just a shame the pass right to Gilroy was wayward. Quiet in the second half and will feel guilty for the final knock-on, but the passing error was not his.

Keith Earls – 5

Two try opportunities in first quarter and got an earful from O’Driscoll for not passing on second one. Played the full 80 when the opposite wing looked more incisive.

Paddy Jackson – 5

Found no form in place-kicking and passing up early opportunities was even more concerning. But with ball in hand, he created enough opportunities to take some positives, recovering from early knock-on to push the very next Ireland attack and putting his colleague Marshall in for two big breaks.

Ultimately, profligacy in front of goal gave Declan Kidney no choice but to revert to Ronan O’Gara and the missed kicks gave Scotland a route back into the game.

Conor Murray – 6

Had more responsibility with two debutants out side him and rose to the challenge, sniping early on. Option-taking in attacking zone was slow at times and cost Ireland in first half.

Tom Court -5

Made his presence felt in the ruck, but mixed fortune for the Irish scrum lack of mobility took him out of action after 50 minutes.

Rory Best -5

Amid all the concern over the other Ulster players, Best’s first-half  display stunted Ireland’s attack badly. Yet he was effective in the loose, and when the line-out did function it was Ireland’s best weapon for a second week in a row.

Mike Ross – 6

Irreplaceable in the scrum, but could not crack the Scottish pack’s effort.

Donncha O’Callaghan – 4

Up against a superior set of locks and made little inroads in redressing the balance.

Donnacha Ryan – 5

Showed good industry throughout, particularly in defensive maul, but as with O’Callaghan, the gulf in physicality ultimately told.

Peter O’Mahony – 5

His athleticism all over the park gave Ireland small victories all over the park, but could not match the work completed by his fellow back-rowers.

Sean O’Brien – 6

Unfortunate to slip after the break to set up Gilroy’s score. Another huge day in terms of carrying. An unquantifiable physical presence in Ireland’s back row.

Jamie Heaslip  - 6

Got through another impressive tally of carries in the loose, and cleared rucks with efficiency.


Dave Kilcoyne (Replaced Court after 53 minutes) – 3

Unable to improve the scrum or take Ireland over the gain-line. Not a cameo to convince the coach he should be ahead of Court.

Eoin Reddan (Replaced Murray after 69 minutes) – 3

Posed with the difficult task of rescuing game, but by that stage Scottish had taken upper hand of breakdown and gave him no quick ball to thrive off.

Ronan O’Gara (Replaced Jackson on 64 minutes) – 2

Began his day bullishly confident, then took to madness with a chip into Tim Visser’s path. With Ireland handed a lifeline at the death, his pass to Marshall was woefully off target.

Luke Fitzgerald - (Replaced Gilroy on 60 minutes) – 3

One contribution of note was chasing onto O’Gara chip. Probably should have kicked on rather than try to gather with two tacklers waiting.

Declan Fitzpatrick, Devin Toner,  Iain Henderson – not on long enough to rate.

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