France 35 Ireland 27: Player ratings from Ireland


15 Jacob Stockdale

The first interventions were positive but his subsequent care was really poor. Two escaped in quick succession, the second led to a penalty try and a Doris trash can. His concentration in defense was lacking and took away his undisputed class in the future. He has character as evidenced by his attacking chops while others could have been hiding. Rating: 4

14 Andrew Conway

It was the second game in a row that he had virtually nothing in attack and what he had to do defensively was solid. His team needs him to be more involved in an offensive capacity. Rating: 6

Bundee Aki carries in Ireland’s defeat to France in Paris. Photograph: Franck Fife / Getty / AFP

13 Robbie Henshaw

Brilliant individual try, supported by a great change of direction and pace, excellent strength and a decisive and singular focus: made excellent reads in defense and invariably crossed the winning line. Rating: 8

12 Bundee Aki

Superb carry giving Ireland so many positive winning lines and was the most notable attacking threat. A bad decision to launch which led to the turnover for the third test for France. Replaced after 52 minutes by Chris Farrell, we suspect an injury / head problem. Rating: 7

11 Hugo Keenan

He was excellent for the most part and never stopped trying or turning his wing to try and add value when his team attacked. He worked hard for the defense. Rating: 7

Dix Johnny Sexton (capt)

Brilliant kick for Hugo Keenan’s scoring chance. Played and twice chose to throw penalties into the corner, but maul was busted twice. His tackle, his decision making and the execution of a few kicks, was a bit up and down a bit like the overall performance. Rating: 6

9 Conor Murray

He started off brilliantly but the levels went down afterwards. He needed to rush faster to join Gael Fickou during the preparation of France’s first try. Missed a few tackles, gave a penalty, one or two unfriendly passes. Intermittent. Rating: 5

Cian Healy scored a try before being sent off as he won his 100th Irish selection. Photograph: James Crombie / Inpho

1 Cian Healy

A test scorer in his 100th selection was a nice embellishment. I threw up and suffered a head butt in the first 25 minutes and was back in the 39th before taking the lead in the final quarter. He missed in the fray when he left. Rating: 7

2 Rob Herring

The roster ran smoothly for his 52 minutes and was shaky after his start. No fault on its work rate or application, but must have a more positive contribution from the attacking side of the ledger. Rating: 6

3 Andrew Porter

He won an early scrum penalty and excelled in that facet of the game and in his pace of work. He needed to get out faster so as not to allow Fickou the outer channel, even though it wasn’t his fault. Good catch for Healy’s try and wrongly penalized by Barnes in the second half. Rating: 7

4 Tadhg Beirne

Penalty conceded in French 22 at the beginning but his work ethic was exemplary. He managed a turn-over but had much less influence during the breakdown against a big French pack physically. Rating: 6

5 James Ryan

Failed to kick off but got away with it and went on to be one of the few Irish players to consistently compete physically with the home side on a level playing field. Good take for Healy’s essay, prodigious work ethic. Rating: 7

6 Caelan Doris

Excellent early turn-over, the yellow card was an instinctive reaction and the problem was not at the start. It will be better for the experience but the French backrow won this battle individually and collectively. Rating: 6

7 Will Connors

His usual great tackling stats, eight hits, one miss, but he found having to defend against France was a different prospect, a lot more wasted energy. Worn effectively on occasion and worked hard for its 52 minutes. Rating: 6

CJ Stander was one of the best Irish artists in Paris.  Photograph: Dave Winter / Inpho

CJ Stander was one of the best Irish artists in Paris. Photograph: Dave Winter / Inpho

8 CJ Stander

Arguably Ireland’s best player alongside Henshaw, he was generally industrious and intelligent in his play. He won some breaking penalties and was effective on both sides of the ball. Rating: 8


The roster and scrum, collective skills, fell apart a bit when some of the starters were pulled and despite some energy they didn’t have many chances to save an Irish side that had missed out during the most of the second half. Rating: 5


Nothing wrong with the way the team set up, just too many mistakes. Pilot error, so to speak. Andy Farrell will be keen to absorb the lessons at both the individual and system level. Three Six Nations wins is a good start, the way rather than the actual losses to England and France were disappointing, but it’s only the start of a journey. Over the next four test matches, he will have the opportunity to examine how he wants to play and which players are best suited to achieve it. Rating: 7


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