Two Ireland players clearly topped our ratings for the Italy game
ITALY 10-63 IRELAND
For the first time in Irish rugby history, two players scored hat-tricks in a single game. For the first time in Six Nations history, a try-scoring bonus point was claimed. For the umpteenth time in history, an Italian side was flaked by stronger, wiser, sharper opposition.
CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy grabbed hat-tricks in a nine-try Irish thumping while Keith Earls grabbed a brace and Garry Ringrose glided over for another.
Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green:
Rob Kearney 6
Quieter afternoon for the Leinster man but he was solid throughout. Ran a nice dummy line for Stander's first try. Composed.
Keith Earls 9.5*
Loves playing the Italians. Dotted down for an early try after fierce Ireland pressure sucked in the numbers and repeated the dose for his sixth try in seven starts against the Azzurri. Super burst in the lead-up to the hat-trick try for Stander. Burst out of the line near the end to prevent an Italian try.
Garry Ringrose 8
Moved to inside centre when Henshaw left the fray. Revelled in the switch as he laid in a big hit on replacement hooker Gega. Dished one excellent offload to McGrath. Left Parisse in his wake with a great line and
Robbie Henshaw 6
Some decent carries and he stuck his tackles well in those rare moments when Italy had the ball. Walked off somewhat gingerly after 47 minutes.
Simon Zebo 8
Superb high take in the opening minute and he was a go-to attacking threat early doors. Denied in the corner by Esposito but Ireland scored less than a minute later. Teed up Stander for a try in the first half. Superb first half
Paddy Jackson 8
Did well with a low, skip pass to set up Earls' opener and kept the Italians honest with darting runs and crisp passes.
Ball on a string😜P.J👍👍
— Ronan O Gara (@RonanOGara10) February 11, 2017
His kicking off the tee was excellent, with one banana kick conversion in particular standing out. Lovely dink over the top nearly had Earls away for his hat-trick. Teed up Ringrose for his late try. 100% kicking performance.
Conor Murray 6
Snaffled Parisse at the rear of a back-pedalling Italian scrum. Box-kicks have not been perfect so far in this championship. With plenty of time, his passing was on point.
Cian Healy 7
Part of a dominant Irish scrum in the opening stages and was almost over for a try by the posts. Usually more of a ball-in-hand threat than Jack McGrath and so it proved today. Replaced after 50 minutes with Ireland well on top.
Niall Scannell 8
Won his first scrum and connected with his first lineout dart. What's all the fuss about? Made some strong carries and contributed well to strong set-plays. Did everything that was asked of him.
Tadhg Furlong 8
Won a penalty against the head to set the tone that screamed domination. Four strong carries and some lovely clearing work at the breakdown.
Donnacha Ryan 6
Yellow-carded by Glen Jackson for his part in the Italian penalty try. Stuck a nice, low tackle near the end to prevent an Italian try.
Devin Toner 7
Lineout, scrum and attacking maul all went like a dream and Toner had a much better all-round game.
CJ Stander 9.5*
Always starts like a train and he was a bullet today:
CJ Stander after 20 minutes
1 clean break
1 defender beaten
1 TRY!!! pic.twitter.com/FCwUxk10Bc
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) February 11, 2017
Profited from Zebo's superb pass to crash over in the left-hand corner. Made four or five metres off each carry. Monstrous, bruising carry earned him a second try [5 in 12 games now] and Ireland the championship's first ever bonus point. Bagged a hat-trick after the break and even set up Gilroy's second with a hack up-field.
Sean O'Brien 7
Backed up Murray to force a turnover on Parisse. Most of his carries were close-in pumps that may have only gained a yard but kept his side on the front foot. Some lusty tackles after the break. Marvellous tackle on Padovani that saw him strip the ball, canter off and offload just before the Gilroy try. 70 minute stint too.
Jamie Heaslip 8
Gorgeous offload in the lead-up to Stander's first try:
Had a fine day of it as he took the fight to the Italians, made some nice bursts, showed up all over the park and urged on his side.
Gilroy (for Henshaw '47) - 9
HAT-TRICK OFF THE BENCH! Nice aerial take and quick feet to lose blue shirts with ease. Stunning steps for his third international try.
McGrath (for Healy '50) - 7
Straight into the attacking action and finding teammates with offloads.
Ryan (for Furlong '52) - 6
Laid in some big hits.
Dillane (for Toner '60) - 6
Van der Flier (for O'Brien '70) - 5
A couple of good carries.
Marmion (for Murray '70) - 5
Tracy (for Scannell '72) - 6
Won a turnover with his first tackle.
Keatley (for Zebo '72) - 5
Had a time of it on the wing.
*No 10/10s were awarded as Italy were absolutely atrocious