[tie_slide]9. Jared Payne
Finally, picked in his best position. He was magnificent in everything he did. Inferior to Rob Kearney in the air, but do we want a catch and kick player or a striker from the back? Over to you Joe.
[tie_slide]6. Andrew Trimble
Despite all the talk about the defensive system the Ulster wing continues to be worse without the ball than with it. He will be skinned before this series is over.
[tie_slide]5. Robbie Henshaw
A very average performance. Under Pat Lam a superstar; under Schmidt a workhorse. This series will tell us if he can live up to his billing. His late, high tackle was outrageous.
[tie_slide]8. Luke Marshall
The smartest centre in Ireland was given his chance and he delivered. Marshall has been blighted by repeated head injuries and like others in the squad this tour could change his career.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]7. Keith Earls
He was workmanlike without ever setting the world on fire. Ireland do not put wings in space so his strengths are not on show. Instead, his positioning is often exposed, which is unfair.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]8. Paddy Jackson
Maturity is a much-used word for Jackson but he may have come of age. As the game wound down one feared the worst.
There was poor punting, an intercept and a missed drop goal. To his everlasting credit he came through. He never flinched in the hard stuff.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]8. Conor Murray
The scrum half is nothing if not predictable. Power, strength and bravery in abundance; decision-making and poor box-kicking once more in evidence.
His decision to kick the ball away with 30 seconds on the clock was mind-boggling.
[tie_slide]7. Jamie Heaslip
One always wonders just how good he might have been had he been directed to play a modern number 8 role. Within the limited framework he was magnificent but it could have been even better.
[tie_slide]7. Jordi Murphy
Worked his socks off for the cause. He is not and never will be top of the range, but any squad would be happy to have him for his courage and work-rate.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]4. CJ Stander
On a personal level the red card was devastating but he deserved it. Enough said.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]9. Devin Toner
He is now Ireland’s most valuable player. Possession is 9/10 of the law and he is now close to world class in the lineout. He is more than tall.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]8. Iain Henderson
I suspect if South Africa could have one player it would be him. He epitomized everything that once made the ‘Boks great. Strength at the breakdown, consistency carrying the ball and wonderful retention.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]5. Mike Ross
Too many miles on the clock and now does little more than hold the scrum up.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]9. Rory Best
Another in the long line of great Irish hooker/captains. He performed outstandingly but leadership was incalculable. One felt for his frustration with the referee.[/tie_slide]
[tie_slide]7. Jack McGrath
He continues to improve but the ball did not go his away as in other games. His concession of a silly penalty towards the end might have been crucial.[/tie_slide]
George Hook, Pundit Arena
Read More About: andrew trimble, cj stander, conor murray, Devin Toner, George Hook, iain henderson, Ireland, jack mcgrath, Jamie Healsip, jared payne, jordi murphy, Keith Earls, luke marshall, mike ross, Paddy Jackson, robbie henshaw, Rory Best, south africa, Top Story