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PLAYER RATINGS: Irish eyes are smiling

It was a triumph for desire over reputation.


The Irish – despite having CJ Stander red-carded in the 22ns minute and also saw Robbie Henshaw sin-binned for an equally inept cheap shot on a Springbok flyhalf – outsmarted the home team.

Jan de Koning rates the Irish players:

15 Jared Payne:

Was rock solid under the high bombs and dangerous on attack – often causing major problems for the Bok defence.


14 Andrew Trimble:

He was steady rather than spectacular, but can't be faulted for his effort. Few mistakes.


13 Robbie Henshaw:

Was lucky his cheap shot on Elton Jantjies was just yellow – should have been removed from the game like CJ Stander.


12 Luke Marshall:

Played a crucial role in the Irish backline defence and worked hard with ball in hand.



11 Keith Earls:

His kick-chase work was impressive and caused the Boks plenty of problems.


10 Paddy Jackson:

Caught the Bok defence napping on a couple of occasions and very creative in his play. There is life after Jonny Sexton.


9 Conor Murray:

Had a huge game and one of the key playmakers in the Irish backline – took a lot of pressure off Jackson.


8 Jamie Heaslip:

A tireless performance on defence and showed up his Bok counterpart in a big way.



7 Jordi Murphy:

Did all the hard work in the dark places where few dare to go.


6 CJ Stander:

He spoiled his first Test against South Africa with a ridiculous high jump and hip charge on Patrick Lambie that resulted in him being red carded midway through the first half.


5 Devin Toner:

Made life unpleasant for the Boks in the line-outs and also held up a few mauls. Put a serious dent in the reputation of the Bok locks.


4 Iain Henderson:

Was generally good – strong carries and solid defence. However, but was penalised a few times in the line-outs.


3 Mike Ross:

Rather quiet and struggled in the scrums.


2 Rory Best (captain):

His defence was solid and made some crucial turnovers.


1 Jack McGrath:

He may have been under pressure in the scrums, but his work on defence was invaluable to the Irish cause. Also a couple of decent charges with ball in hand.



16 Sean Cronin (on for Best, 68th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

17 Finlay Bealham:

Not used.

18 Tadhg Furlong (on for Ross, 59th min):

Made no impact whatsoever.


19 Ultan Dillane (on for Henderson, 69th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

20 Rhys Ruddock (on for Murphy, 74th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

21 Kieran Marmion:

Not used.

22 Ian Madigan:

Not used.

23 Craig Gilroy (on for Earls, 77th min).

Not enough time to be rated.

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