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Ireland v France; How we rated Joe Schmidt's men

RugbyBy John Brennan
Sexton: Outstanding
Sexton: Outstanding

An error and injury strewn afternoon in Paris saw Ireland lose to France by one point, 10-9. Here is how we rated the efforts of the victorious Irish team

Rob Kearney - Decent under the high ball, but Kearney couldn’t make an impact in the attacking phases of the game. The French watched him well. 7
 
Andrew Trimble - Brave as ever in defence, but the Ulsterman, like so many of his colleagues, could make no impact going forward.  6
 
Jared Payne - Superb in the tackle, but Payne has yet to convince going forward. He may be under pressure for his place at Twickenham on Saturday week. 5
 
Robbie Henshaw - He ought to be the spark for the Irish back-line but Henshaw is being caught in a defensive web every time he tries to past a player. 6
 
Dave Kearney - The winger had to come off in the first half, after a bad high tackle, that went unpunished in terms of a yellow card. 6
 
Jonathon Sexton - Yet again, Ireland’s out-half was targeted by the French in a big match, Surely the referee should have dealt with the issue much more firmly. 8
 
Conor Murray - The scrum half was again strong and determined, but he couldn’t make any impact going forward to spark the back-line outside him. 7
 
Jack McGrath - Tackled furiously, but this is the second week that Ireland’s scrum has been over-powered in the Six Nations. Jack may be in danger of missing out soon. 6
 
Rory Best - Sound with his line-out throwing, but Ireland’s skipper has to take a portion of the blame for the scrum implosion in the second period.  6
 
Nathan White - The Irish scrum was pushed around in the second half as France brought on fresh blood and White was one of the Irish to crack. 4
 
Devin Toner - Did well, as he always does, at the line-out, but the Irish giant can’t seem to make an impact around the pitch. 7
 
Mike McCarthy - The Irish second row was having a good day until laid low by a sickening collision in the second half. 7
 
CJ Stander - This was another towering effort from the Springbok. Thank God he is eligible to play for Ireland, we’ve really needed him in both games. 8
 
Sean O’Brien - He was having a stormer until laid low with injury after 20 minutes. If the hamstring is gone, he could be out of the 2016 Six Nations. 7
 
Jamie Heaslip - In a hugely physical Test match, Ireland’s No 8 gave everything, making tackles and trying to make breaks through the Blue wall. 7