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Player Ratings: Ireland

OPINION: Ireland, while not at their absolute best, capitalized on a French shortfall, managing to secure a decisive 38-17 bonus victory over their hosts in Marseille.

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France may be accused of not turning up, but the truth was once Ireland’s boot was on their neck, the men in green simply didn’t let up.

1. Andrew Porter – 6
Shipped a heavy collision with just eight minutes on the clock from Paul Willemse. Came back on after his HIA, but struggled to contain mass monster Uini Atonio at scrum time. Won a turnover to kick off the second forty, playing himself into the game after a passable first half.

2. Dan Sheehan – 6
Sheehan’s line-outs were near immaculate, even if – try aside – his impact around the park was significantly below par for him. Showed resolve in the face of heavy defensive duties, which was the biggest piece here.

3. Tadhg Furlong – 5
Furlong was a mixed bag, losing key scrum battles and failing to make his presence felt in the tight. Contributed with a few solid carries and link play, showing glimpses of his capability without fully imposing his will on the game.

4. Joe McCarthy – 8.5
A revelation in the second row, the Leinsterman’s athleticism and physicality were a pivotal part of the Irish effort. Ran out of steam in the second half.

5. Tadhg Beirne – 8
Beirne was everywhere, stealing balls at the breakdown, charging down kicks, and making crucial tackles. His versatility shone brightly tonight and his 29th minute true was no more than he deserved.

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6. Peter O’Mahony – 7
Fired up. Was in the trenches early doors, winning turnovers and scrapping for everything. His experience and tactical nous kept the team focused and fierce. Stayed in the fight, with a 10-minute sin-bin break adding to his energy levels.

7. Josh van der Flier – 6
Van der Flier displayed his characteristic work ethic and tenacity, albeit in a performance that didn’t quite hit the high notes we’re accustomed to.

8. Caelan Doris – 8
Doris had a relatively quiet start to the game by his own high standards. Despite a few flashes of his ability to break the line and his usual defensive solidity, the first half largely passed him by. He grew into the game though, his fitness shining through and by the end was displaying the main character energy Ireland have come to depend on.

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9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 8.5
Gibson-Park’s quick decision-making and sharp passing dictated the pace of the game, keeping the French defence guessing. Took his 17th-minute try with aplomb.

10. Jack Crowley – 6
Crowley seemed lost at times at the Stade Velodrome, with poor kicking choices costing Ireland on occasion. Was a spectator for Damian Penaud’s try just before half-time, although it was as much a system failure as poor positioning on his behalf. Against that, he showed he can mix it will ball in hand, a short pass to Beirne putting the big lock away for Ireland’s second try. His decent kicking form off the tee in the second half saved him from a 5.

11. James Lowe – 8
One of the few Ireland players that seemed dialled in from the off, his kicking game was first class. His defensive reads and execution have improved out of sight from his early Ireland career bumbling. Didn’t see much of him with ball in hand but it was that type of night.

12. Bundee Aki – 8
Aki’s physicality in the midfield set the tone, his defensive reads and hard carries provided the backbone for Ireland’s attack. After years of Test mediocrity, he has become maybe the most effective centre in the game.

13. Robbie Henshaw – 7
Henshaw’s return was marked by a really competent outing at No.13. Was a brick wall in defence, while showcasing his full range of skills in attack.

14. Calvin Nash – 6.5
A decent outing from the rookie wing, who showed promise on the odd time he saw the ball. The right place at the right time to score on debut in the 47th minute. Sadly picked up an injury in the dying moments of the game.

15. Hugo Keenan – 7
Keenan’s defence and reliability under the high ball were exemplary. Popped up in attack when required, without shining in that department.

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Ronan Kelleher – 7
In the brief period he was on the field, Kelleher showed promise, adding spark to Ireland’s forward pack and was good value for his 77th-minute try which put the cherry on top of Ireland’s performance.

17. Cian Healy – 6
The veteran prop brought stability and power to the scrum in his two spells on the pitch.

18. Finlay Bealham – 6
Looked solid with relatively little time to impress.

19. James Ryan – 6
Coming off the bench with limited time to make an impact, Ryan put in a gutsy effort.

20. Ryan Baird – 6
Baird’s athleticism didn’t come to the fore, with the lock failing to inject energy into the side with so little time.

21. Jack Conan – 8
Conan, introduced into the match with not enough time to fully unleash his potential, still managed to display his physicality and eagerness in both attack and defence.

22. Conor Murray – NA
Murray, entering the fray in the 72nd minute, had little opportunity to leave a substantial mark on the game, but was a steady hand at the tiller.

23. Ciaran Frawley – NA
Wasn’t given an opportunity to make a case for himself.

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