RATINGS: How the Irish players rated after that disappointing defeat to Scotland 2 years ago

RATINGS: How the Irish players rated after that disappointing defeat to Scotland

SCOTLAND 27-22 IRELAND

There goes the Grand Slam. The dream was good while it lasted... for about eight minutes of the second half.

Ireland were left reeling after a first half in which Scotland had 33% possession and yet trailed 21-8 at the break. Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and the Gray brothers, Richie and Jonny, were shredding their guests.

Ireland fought back superbly after the break and scored through Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson but, with the Scots there for the taking, got sloppy. They spurned scoring chances and gave away poor penalties. A 22-21 lead turned into a 27-22 loss.

Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green:

Rob Kearney - 6

Skewed an early kick and, as is his wont, carried counter-attack ball into a sea of dark blue when passing might have been better advised. Should have stood up on Hogg for his second try but he backed Earls to make his tackle. His knock-on set Scotland up for the attack that let to Alex Dunbar's well worked try. Did make a try-saving tackle on Hogg just before the first half ended. So, so close to setting up an Earls try after he scorched Hogg on the outside.

Keith Earls - 4

Shanked a kick out on the right wing under absolutely no pressure. Faced with a two-on-one for Hogg's second try. Himself and Kearney went for Maitland and Hogg punished them. Redeemed himself by diving over in the left-hand corner soon over. Gave away a silly 'side-entry' penalty when trying to assist Henshaw. Gained a measure of revenge on Hogg in the second-half with a big hit that took him over the sideline.

Garry Ringrose - 5

Slipped when trying to bolt up on a loose Finn Russell pass and Stuart Hogg cantered home. First half seemed to rush past him. Lacks that killer edge in defence still. He makes his hits but he rarely drives his man back or stops them dead. Scything run gained vital metres before Jackson's try.

Robbie Henshaw - 5

Was not given any change by the Scottish defence. Missed a very makeable tackle on Dunbar as a sobering first half ended. Grew into the game as his side started to drive the Scots back.

Simon Zebo - 6

Gave away a needless penalty for holding on after being caught in two minds running back a clearance kick. His risky as hell loop pass just about came off for Earls' try. Nearly got away after his intercept and hack on.

Paddy Jackson - 5

Smart, bold bolt for his try. Too deep, too often. Threw a skittery pass early in the piece, which suggested his head might not be fully screwed on. His clean break into the Scottish 22 set the platform for Earls' try. Pinged for not rolling away for Laidlaw's late penalty.

Conor Murray - 6

Perhaps was going for Zebo but somehow himself and Kearney combined for that costly knock-on before Dunbar's try. Super break almost led to a try and he blocked a grubber and pounced on the skittling ball. Some passes were too high but he traced one at Jackson's chest for his try.

Jack McGrath - 7

Superb in the scrum but struggled to impose himself on the game in the loose. Was bashed back a couple of metres when he tried to take Josh Strauss head-on. Important pick, drive and offload in the lead-up to Henderson's try.

Rory Best - 6

Lineout overthrow early on set a poor tone. That set-piece was under fierce pressure and was taking away from the profitable scrum. Made some important, bullocking carries as Ireland clawed their way back into the tie.

Tadhg Furlong - 7

Statement made at the very first scrum. He had Allan Dell's number but it was a shame Ireland were not capitalising. Like most of his teammates, improved as the game went on. Some bruising carries to boot.

Devin Toner - 5

Lineout was in trouble in attack and defence so Toner will own some of that. Was shown up by the Gray brothers in a shell-shock first half. Line-out got its act together after the break with Toner calling a couple of big throws on himself.

Iain Henderson - 7

Chose to pass rather than plough into Scottish lines. One of the guilty party that did not spot centre Dunbar in the lineout. Muscled his way over for a try from close in after 10 phases of Irish pressure.

CJ Stander - 6

Was getting well marshalled in the first half and his most notable contribution was winning a turnover in his own half. Ran down a couple of blind alleys but his directness was vital in Ireland's fight-back. Gave away a bad penalty when caught in possession near the end.

Sean O'Brien - 9

Made a careening run deep into the Scottish 22 that spurred Ireland on after conceding that early try. Won an important turnover early in the second half. Another stunning second half line break of 20-metres plus but his teammates could not make it count.

Jamie Heaslip - 5

Made a good, early hit on Finn Russell. A couple of strong carries that got Ireland some front-foot ball but he was getting no change out of the fired up Gray brothers in the loose. Gave away a costly penalty on the Scottish 22 when he got his body position all wrong after taking the ball into contact. Tossed an offload under the shadow of the Scottish posts that was meant for Henshaw but was intercepted.

REPLACEMENTS

Healy (for McGrath '56)

Drove his team on when he entered the fray.

Dillane (for Henderson '60)

Lost the ball to scupper a dangerous maul within yards of the Scottish line.

Van der Flier (for O'Brien '65)

Feverish tackling. Was monster-trucked by Strauss and two back-row colleagues before Laidlaw's penalty.

Bowe (for Earls '67)

Lucky to get away with a high collar.

Ryan (for Furlong '68)

Unfortunate that his entry coincided with his teammates flagging.