Ireland 27 – 3 Scotland
Sean McMahon reporting from Yokohama
Ireland have got their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign off to a perfect start after they produced a completely dominant bonus-point performance over Scotland in Yokohama.
Three first-half tries from James Ryan, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong ensured Ireland were up and running after the midway point of their first half.
The conditions began to deteriorate in the second half as Ireland adopted a more pragmatic approach. Andrew Conway’s 56th-minute effort ensured the bonus point and while Scotland tried their best to mount a comeback, unforced errors and an inability to claim dominance in the tight exchanges proved too costly for Gregor Townsend’s side.
Ireland will have some concerns, however, as Bundee Aki and Peter O’Mahony left the fray early on but overall, it was an excellent performance from Joe Schmidt’s side who got their campaign up and running.
Here are our Ireland player ratings from today’s action:
Cian Healy – 7
Quiet enough first half with only a handful of carries and tackles but he contributed to a strong scrum and he hit rucks all day.
Rory Best (c) – 7
Produced a great carry to get Ireland on the front foot after a lineout early in the first half. Got over for Ireland’s second try and did well to twist his body so he could ground the ball. Lineout was rock solid and he must take some credit for that.
Tadhg Furlong – 7
Was busy in defence throughout the first half and took on some tough-looking carries at times. Showed his superb strength in the first half to power over for Ireland’s third try.
Iain Henderson – 8
Great carry and break through the line early in the first half which led to Ireland being just a metre out from the Scottish line. Laid down a marker to the Scottish pack and he really bossed proceedings.
Gave away a penalty as he competed in the air at the lineout but other than that he was superb.
James Ryan – 8
James Ryan got off to a good start by taking a restart under huge pressure. Crashed over for the game’s first try after Henderson’s break. A typically physical performance which contributed to Irish dominance up front.
Stole a lineout at the death to ensure Scotland finished the match without a try.
Peter O’Mahony – N/A
Unfortunately, his day was cut short after he failed a HIA at the midway point of the first half. Was rock solid in the lineout before that.
Josh van der Flier – 8
Really busy performance from Josh van der Flier who was everywhere on the pitch today. Carried and tackled well when called upon and hit rucks all day – exactly what Ireland needed from their openside today.
Was still going 65 minutes into the second half as his superb engine saw him chase down Stuart Hogg as the Scot was looking to break through.
CJ Stander – 8
Much, much better from CJ Stander today. A storming run late in the first half almost led to a try only for him to go off his feet a few rucks later to give away a penalty.
A really strong performance on both sides of the ball from the Ireland number eight who seems to be inspired after all the Jack Conan chat.
Conor Murray – 7
Produced a lovely chip through early in the first half after Rory Best peeled off a lineout. Produced a great covering tackle off Seymour and his overall kicking from hand was a lot better. Took over kicking duties from Johnny Sexton in the first half but missed his second attempt but it was from far out.
Johnny Sexton – 6
Had a kicked blocked down in the first half before producing a poor kick from out of hand. Grew in influence thereafter but kicking duties were soon handed over to Conor Murray which is a worry. Good but not great.
Jacob Stockdale – 7
Wasn’t involved at all for large portions of the first half until dropped a simple enough Finn Russell kick. He improved after that and produced an incredible read and tackle at the end of the first half when Scotland were looking dangerous out wide. A tackle which needed to be made or Ireland were in trouble.
Bundee Aki – N/A
Produced a huge hit in the opening 10 minutes and then produced two turnovers in a row. He was showing great physicality but he was removed from the field after a tackle attempt resulted in a head injury after 21 minutes.
Garry Ringrose – 7
Didn’t show too much in attack but he made some excellent defensive reads. Produced a super tackle on Hogg which led to Aki’s second turnover in the first half. Beginning to make the 13 jersey his own again.
Andrew Conway – 8
Very solid in the air besides one ball he probably should have taken.
Great take in the air in the second half and then put pressure on from Murray’s box-kick which led to him scoring a try in the corner. Always looked dangerous with ball in hand. Linked up really well Jordan Larmour
Jordan Larmour – 8
Got early nerves out of the way by taking his first ball and he did so for the first 10 minutes as Scotland bombarded with aerial tests. Produced a great break around 15 minutes in and produced a much-needed covering tackle on Seymour.
Kicked loosely in the second half which led to a dangerous Scottish attack but overall, he was immense.
Jack Conan (blood sub for Van Der Flier 13′ HIA sub for Peter O’Mahony 28′ ) – 7
Gave a penalty away which Laidlaw kicked in the first half but besides that, he was very good. Moved to eight as he replaced O’Mahony as Stander shifted to blindside. Didn’t do too much with ball in hand but he was excellent in defence.
Chris Farrell (HIA replacement for Aki 22′) – 8
Really took on the mantle from the physical Aki by showing his own strength in contact. Busy on both sides of the ball, Farrell proved a handful for the Scottish defence.
Produced a lovely offload to Luke McGrath in the second half.
Putting his hand up for selection next weekend with an all-action performance.
Dave Kilcoyne (replacement for Healy 50′) – 7
Andrew Porter (replacement for Furlong 50′) – 7
Jack Carty (replacement for Sexton 60′) – 7
Tadhg Beirne (replacement for Henderson 60′) – 7
Ensured Ireland finished the game with 14 men after he received a yellow card after 71 minutes was unlucky with his turnover attempt though.
Luke McGrath (replacement for Murray 60′) – 7
Niall Scannell (replacement for van der Flier 74′) – N/A