Player Ratings: Irish eyes are not smiling
OPINION: After three wins over the All Blacks in the last five outings, Ireland were brought back down to earth with a bang at Eden Park.
The lacklustre tourists started well before they lost talismanic captain Johnny Sexton on the half hour. Andy Farrell’s side shipped six tries to three in a 19-42 defeat.
Ireland were second best in almost every department, with some basic errors at key moments proving costly.
Gavin Harper rates the Irish players!
15. Hugo Keenan – 4
Usually so composed but that deserted him at important times, though he did throw a lovely pass for Earls’ early score. Kept far too quiet for Ireland’s liking thereafter.
14. Keith Earls – 4
Kept really quiet – only made one half break – after an excellent early finish to score his 35th Test try.
13. Garry Ringrose – 5
When Ireland were good, especially once Sexton had gone off, Ringrose was at the heart of things. Notable first-half contributions included a shuddering hit on Cane and he nearly put Gibson-Park away after gathering a Sexton kick through. Test rugby is about small margins, though, and a loose pass and a missed tackle accounted for two All Blacks tries.
12. Robbie Henshaw – 4
Caught too narrow a phase before Jordie Barrett’s try, leaving Earls exposed. A nice half-break early in the second half that put Ireland on the front foot.
11. James Lowe – 4
A really quiet first half that included a couple of simple errors and an ill-timed slip as Reece sprinted clear. Lovely offload to put Ringrose over.
10. Johnny Sexton – 6
The veteran skipper lasted only half an hour before he had to go off. Was varying his game well. A couple of kicks found space in the All Blacks backfield.
9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 5
Two maddening decisions after Sexton went off. Tapped a penalty on half-way then decided to run 5m from his own line. The latter decision proved costly as the hosts turned ball over and Tupaea scored.
1. Andrew Porter – 3
Still adapting on the loosehead, and it showed. A prop’s primary job is set-piece and he was under pressure at the scrum.
2. Dan Sheehan – 7
Battled gamely throughout. Carried five times in the build-up to the score for Earls and never gave up on a lost cause.
3. Tadhg Furlong – 4
Virtually no impact around the field and twisted into all sorts of positions by Bower at the scrum.
4. Tadhg Beirne – 5
Ireland badly missed Iain Henderson in the close quarters. A limited impact at the breakdown and one bad defensive read opened the door for Jordie Barrett to score.
5. James Ryan – 5
The selection of veteran Whitelock was questioned in New Zealand, but he outshone the Leinster lock. Charged with running the line-out, it didn’t falter at key moments. Ryan also conceded a daft penalty after the Jordie Barrett try as Ireland looked to put pressure on the hosts.
6. Peter O’Mahony – 5
Questions over his selection but he attempted to lead from the front. Some excellent early involvements, including the lineout that led to Earls score.
7. Josh van der Flier – 7
Took the game to New Zealand with hard, direct carrying early on, but little impact as a jackal threat. Should have scored.
8. Caelan Doris – 4
A try-scorer in the November win, didn’t have the same impact this time and ultimately outplayed by opposite number Savea before being withdrawn.
16. Dave Heffernan – N/A
Came on for Sheehan on 63 minutes, but smashed backwards with his first carry and forced off less than five minutes. A brual tour for Ireland’s front-row players injury-wise continues.
17. Cian Healy – N/A
Given the pressure Porter was under, somewhat surprising we didn’t see the veteran. But his tour looked over in midweek, so how fit was he really?
18. Tom O’Toole – 4
Into the 23 for Bealham, who has Covid, and won his third cap by replacing Furlong for the final quarter of an hour.
19. Kieran Treadwell – 5
On for Beirne for the closing 15 minutes to win his sixth cap. Put his shoulder to the wheel in the tight.
20. Jack Conan – 5
Kept out of the side by O’Mahony, but joined him on 56 minutes as he replaced Doris. Some strong carries, including one that nearly brought a late consolation score.
21. Conor Murray – N/A
An indifferent outing for Gibson-Park, so maybe a bit surprising the Munster man didn’t make it off the bench sooner. No time to make an impact.
22. Joey Carberry – 5
Off the bench on the half hour to replace Sexton. Made a bad read as Barrett kicked for Tupaea to score. Showed more composure after the break albeit with limited opportunities. No chance of stopping Sowakula as he charged over.
23. Bundee Aki – 5
Added go-forward to the midfield immediately after replacing Earls with 25 minutes left. That direct running got him a late try.
By Gavin Harper, @RugbyPass