Ireland player ratings vs New Zealand: Sexton's career ends in heartache - Page 2 of 3 - Ruck

Ireland player ratings vs New Zealand: Sexton’s career ends in heartache

7 Josh van der Flier 6.5

The former World Rugby Player of the Year had a slower day at the office. He started his match by flying into carries, yet was caught on occasion for a Savea turnover, and spilling the ball in contact. Missed a tackle on Mo’unga for the Will Jordan try, but battled hard as he has for his entire Ireland career. (Off – Jack Conan 58 minutes)

8 Caelan Doris 6.5

After being an evergreen winner in the Ireland team, Doris was proven to be beatable after all. His opposite man got the better of him, as Ardie Savea had the game of his life. Doris was turned over at the breakdown at 12 minutes, and again just inches from the try-line at 16 minutes. A huge Doris turnover halted All Blacks attack at the half hour mark, and he returned kick-offs with a fiery first step into the collision. His late high ball knock on personified Ireland – the best in the world but slipped at the crucial match.

9 Jamison Gibson-Park 7

Supplied quick-ball to Ireland to keep the All Blacks back-peddling around the corner. However, some of his passes were spilled, could be nerves, or a greasy surface. Huge hit on Ardie Savea following a chip chase from Mo’unga. 38th minute try turned the tide ahead of half-time, sold the dummy well to score off the back of a line-out. New Zealand were so fast on the ball in defence, Gibson-Park needed to pick up the pace to stop further turnovers.

10 Johnny Sexton (c) 7

Very smart plays from the off, forced Ringrose out wide to expose the wider channels. Confident to make the call to kick for the corner, as Ireland trailed by 13 points. This got a lift out of the ‘sea of green’ in Paris, and helped Ireland’s momentum. Unhappy with Wayne Barnes, after Aki’s head collision was overlooked. Kicked well from the boot, but lost the foot race to the in-goal area, after his loose kick in midfield. Nailed the conversions and penalty attempts. A heart-breaking way to end his career, as he once again goes out in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup.

11 James Lowe 7

Great tackles early on set his defensive tempo, and kicks deep into the back-field were as good as ever. Won the early arial battle against Will Jordan, and was comfortable to call for marks. He smashed Beauden Barrett, but the gaps opened up for Fainga’anuku’s try. Could not stop Julian Savea’s dive into score. Kept a high tempo for the duration of the second half, despite his teammates fatiguing.

12 Bundee Aki 8.5

Heavy carries from the off, yet missed a tackle in the build-up to Fainga’anuku’s try. Hit backwards on the 23rd minute, with calls for a review of head contact. Flew over the gain-line for a try at 26 minutes, could not be stopped by thee All Blacks defenders, with two steps and an additional fend. Levelled Keith Earl’s try-scoring record for five Ireland tries in one RWC. Great power, dummies and steps throughout the match and never stopped battling.