Autumn Series: Every home nations performance graded as England and Ireland impress - Ruck

Autumn Series: Every home nations performance graded as England and Ireland impress

International rugby came back with a bang this month. The Autumn Nations brought us some of the best skills and thrills on display at a major tournament in history. RUCK Editor Steve Smith reviews each home nations performance.

Whether it was Ireland’s dismantling of the All Blacks, or Marcus Smith’s last-gasp winning penalty against South Africa, this series will go down in history as one of the most exciting Autumns in history.

While England stole the headlines on the final weekend, plenty of other sides exceeded expectations, while some failed to make as much noise as spectators thought they would. So, without further ado, here is how I would grade each home nation during the 2021 Autumn Nations Series.

IRELAND

  • Head coach: Andy Farrell
  • Star player: Caelan Doris
  • Underperformer: James Ryan
  • Record: Three wins
  • Grade: A-

Farrell would have hoped for sterner tests, but a third win in as many years against the All Blacks proved that the Irish are moving in the right direction.

Positives: Their starting front-row could go toe-to-toe with the Boks’ bomb squad in the scrum, but also have a dynamism that makes them menaces all over the field. Caelan Doris was the breakout player, with the 23-year-old back-rower looking like a superstar in the making.

Negatives: The succession plan for after Johnny Sexton remains unclear, with Joey Carbery still looking a bit like a fullback playing 10 rather than an out-and-out fly-half.

RESULTS:

  • Ireland 60-5 Japan
  • Ireland 29-20 New Zealand
  • Ireland 57-3 Argentina

CONTINUES ON PAGE TWO


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