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Player ratings: Ireland

OPINION: It was an odd match really, with only one winner possible even when the scoreline suggested a tighter affair.

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The game – and Ireland for that matter –  never quite found their flow and the rugby on display didn’t stir the soul of a bored Lansdowne Road crowd that spent much of the match chatting amongst itself.

In the end, a scrappy Ireland came away with a relatively comfortable win, even if the 33-17 scoreline didn’t quite reflect their dominance.

Ian Cameron rates the Ireland players!

15. Jimmy O’Brien – 7
A very impressive first half from O’Brien who kicked well and looked to create with ball-in-hand rather than simply cede back possession to kick a happy Italian outfit. Replaced by Frawley after the break.

14. Keith Earls – 5
The 35-year-old veteran of the Irish backline nearly set up O’Brien with a clever dink through in the first half. Wasn’t terribly involved after that and needs to show he can be a credible threat and not just a reliable cog in the machine.

13. Robbie Henshaw – 5.5
A weighty if not particularly noteworthy first-half from Henshaw, with tackle duty his primary concern. A few solid carries but nothing outrageous.

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12. Stuart McCloskey – 6
Bulldozed his way over just before halftime after finding himself are the back of a turned-over ruck and proved a popular try-scorer among his peers.

11. Jacob Stockdale – 5.5
It’s no secret, Stockdale needs a big August if he is to crack Ireland’s 33. Got plenty of ball in the first half, carrying strongly in contact, if not ever breaking the blue line. His brilliant take of a high ball in the 20th minute nearly resulted in a try for O’Brien. Tried his heart out all evening but let himself down with an awful attempt at a tackle on Lorenzo Pani, the smaller winger batting him away with little effort.

10. Jack Crowley – 6.5
Had plenty of kick tennis to endure with Italians putting boot to ball often in this encounter. Linked up well with McCloskey on his inside. Lost the ball in contact a few times when bringing to the line, but otherwise solid.

9. Craig Casey – 7.5
A bright start from Casey who provided a snappy and accurate service. Had a sofa ride from his forwards but looked sharp as hell.

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1. David Kilcoyne – 7.5
Entered the game knowing his spot on the plane was more less guaranteed, but needing to up his ante if he is to displace Cian Healy as Ireland’s second-choice loosehead. Burrowed over for a try after 12 minutes just to remind Farrell and co of his considerable worth.

2. Rob Herring – 6
An impressive outing from a very solid operator, with Ireland’s lineout functioning well.

3. Tom O’Toole – 6
The Drogheda-born tighthead had a solid outing, holding his own in the scrums and showcasing his physicality in open play. Played his part well in the front-row battles.

4. Iain Henderson – 7.5
Leading from the front, the Ulsterman had a decent gallop up the park only to spill the ball, admittedly in greasy conditions. Other than that he was pretty much an indomitable force in the Irish pack.

5. Joe McCarthy – 6
There’s plenty of high praise coming out of the Ireland camp about the rookie lock, who won his first Ireland start here. Made his presence felt in the physicality stakes but you’d have liked to see him shine more here if he is to grab a place on the plane to France.

6. Ryan Baird – 6
The athletic flanker was a force to be reckoned with, making some bone-crunching tackles, providing a dynamic presence in Ireland’s back row even if there were no highlight-reel moments for Youtube here.

7. Caelan Doris – 7.5
Dove over the line off an Irish catch and drive in the 29th minute and grabbed a second in the 72nd minute to seal Ireland’s win. Was a menace at the breakdown and was maybe Ireland’s premier threat as a strike runner.

8. Jack Conan – 6
The in-form No.8 put in a few carries and hits before he worryingly came off before halftime to be replaced by Cian Prendergast.

Replacements – 6
The replacements made some competent contributions to the team effort, Cian Prendergast especially standing out. Tadhg Beirne brought his usual energy and aggression, while Caolin Blade gave a good account of himself when he came on for Casey. Cian Healy came on and scored try in the 65th minute, while Tadhg Furlong had a more subdued runout. The ever-versatile Ciaran Frawley kicked well.

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