Ireland 16-9 New Zealand – Player Ratings

Ireland were brilliant in defence to beat the World Champions for only the second time, but how did the players rate?


15. Rob Kearney – 8/10

Perhaps lucky to avoid further punishment for a tackle in the air on Reiko Ioane, but generally very solid under the high ball, removing Barrett’s kicking threat. It takes a good player to resist the challenge of Jordan Larmour, and Kearney is that. 

14. Keith Earls – 7/10

Lovely early sidestep helped build Irish pressure in Kiwi 22, dealt with the unenviable task of defending Rieko Ioane with admirable success. Quiet going forward.

13. Garry Ringrose –  7/10

Didn’t see the best of him in attack, but by no means a bad performance from the youngster, whose partnership with Aki will blossom over the coming months.

12. Bundee Aki – 8/10

Looked up for the fight early on, and combined very effectively with Sexton throughout. Set up Stockdale well for the first try. A fine day at the office.

11. Jacob Stockdale – 9/10

Took his try brilliantly, and otherwise a consistent threat in attack. Outpaced Beauden Barrett admirably in the latter stages. The missing piece of Ireland’s jigsaw.

10. Johnny Sexton – 8/10

So much of what Sexton does goes unnoticed, but he was crucial for Ireland’s cause. Outclassed Beauden Barrett in every facet of the game. Kicked brilliantly in open play and from the tee.

9. Kieran Marmion – 7/10

The scrum-half battle was always going to be key, and Marmion won out. Box kicked well, and fed Sexton with clean ball, albeit helped by a dominant pack. Telling that the absence of Conor Murray was barely felt.

 1. Cian Healy – 7/10

Quiet, but his main role was to strengthen the scrum, and he did that well. Effective, and defended well too.

2. Rory Best – 8/10

Brilliant in ensuring Ireland didn’t lose set-piece ball. Quiet in the loose, but it didn’t matter. Led the team very well, and early decisions to put points on the board proved vital. 

Rory Best carries the ball into contact

3. Tadhg Furlong – 9/10

The best tighthead prop in the world, and he showed it. So good in open-play, and was part of a very dominant front-row.

4. Devin Toner – 7/10

Useful in the line-out, and more effective than usual in the loose. Did well to neutralise the double threat of Whitelock and Retallick.

5. James Ryan – 7/10

Main first half ball carrier for Ireland, acquitted himself well in the biggest test of his career. Remarkable rise in little more than a year.

6. Peter O’Mahony – 9/10

Heroic. Outstanding in defence, always a threat over the ball, and saved Ireland more than once when New Zealand were threatening to breach their green wall. Would you expect any less?

7. Josh van der Flier – 9/10

For a man who was only brought into the team after Dan Leavy was forced pull out through injury, van der Flier was phenomenal. Devastating throughout, and won a vital turnover early on with the All Blacks looking likely to score.  

8. CJ Stander – 8/10

Carried brilliantly, defended wonderfully. Top performance, and cancelled out the massive threat of Keiran Read very well.

Total – 118/150


The line-out disintegrated when Sean Cronin came on at hooker, but Jordi Murphy and Jack McGrath were both excellent.

New Zealand

15. Damian McKenzie – 6/10

Not his usual threat in attack, didn’t join the line as much as he could’ve, and Barrett looked slightly lost as a result. Often lost out under the high-ball to Kearney. Caught out positionally for Stockdale’s try.

14. Ben Smith – 6/10

Can’t help but feel that his intelligence and solidity is wasted on the wing. Didn’t do anything wrong, but didn’t have as much of an impact as he could’ve.

Smith deals with the threat of Jacob Stockdale

13. Jack Goodhue – 7/10

Couple of bright moments in attack, but spent most of his time defending the midfield with great success. 

12. Ryan Crotty – 8/10

Might not have the offloading capability of Sonny Bill Williams, but made a strong case for keeping the 12 jersey. Extremely busy, made 18 tackles, which is a ridiculous number for a back.

11. Reiko Ioane – 7/10

Had another quiet match, but still managed to make metres from nothing. Solid in defence, which had previously been a poor part of his game.

10. Beauden Barrett – 7/10

Big threat from open play and kicked from the tee well, but his tactical kicking wasn’t what it could’ve been. Second to Sexton by a long way.

9. Aaron Smith – 6/10

Smith’s decline over the past year has been worrying, and his threat with ball in hand is now next to nothing. Didn’t help Barrett at all with his own kicking. 

1. Karl Tuinukuafe – 7/10

Solid performance from Tuinukuafe. Barely seen with ball in hand, but managed to limit the powerful Irish front row’s impact. Ensured New Zealand won their own scrums.

2. Codie Taylor – 7/10

Threw into the line-out well despite the towering presence of Devin Toner. Solid, but didn’t have the effect of Dane Coles.

3. Owen Franks – 8/10

Continues to be an indispensable member of this All Blacks side. Made multiple tackles, and exudes the authority that his teammates rely upon.

4. Brodie Retallick – 7/10

Much quieter than in previous weeks, but still solid and helped Whitelock terrorise opposition ball. A key part of this team.

5. Sam Whitelock – 8/10

While Retallick was terrorising the England line-out last weekend, this time it was Whitelock doing the damage. Wasn’t given a sniff until Rory Best was replaced by Sean Cronin, and conceded three penalties.

6. Liam Squire – 6/10

Struggled to assert himself in the first-half, and left the fray early through injury.

7. Ardie Savea – 8/10

Won important first-half turnover, and very lively in the loose. Offers a different threat to Sam Cane, and may have secured the 7 shirt going into the off-season.

8. Keiran Read – 7/10

Would’ve been disappointed to concede two penalties during Ireland’s first-half surge, and as captain he didn’t manage to revive a clearly struggling New Zealand side.

Total – 105/150


Scott Barrett had an impact when he came on, and TJ Perenara was noticeably sharper than the man he replaced at scrum-half. Steve Hansen will be frustrated by a lack of intensity from most of his substitutes.

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