Ireland v England player ratings: Jack Willis shines despite yellow card

ireland v england player ratings: jack willis shines despite yellow card

Jack Willis tackles Ireland captain Johnny Sexton – Ireland v England player ratings: Jack Willis shines despite yellow card – PA/Brian Lawless

Ireland sealed the Grand Slam in Dublin following their 29-16 victory over England in the final match of this year’s Six Nations, but who shone brightest in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, and who was found wanting? Telegraph Sport runs the rule over the starting XVs and replacements.


15. Hugo Keenan

Chased down Arundell to win a penalty and galloped through England’s defence for one break. One rushed clearance was an error but he’s some player under the high ball. Failed an HIA after the Steward incident. 8/10

14. Mack Hansen

Quiet first 25 and then exploded into the game with a run past Itoje from within his own half. Incisive pass to Conan led to Sheehan’s second try and has been some find. 7/10

13. Robbie Henshaw

Horrible to tackle when he gets motoring. First start of the championship and a try too, put on a plate by Aki which allowed Ireland to breathe in the second half. 7/10

12. Bundee Aki

Lost his first one-on-one with Tuilagi but that was his only backwards step. Would you want to tackle him? Solid under the high ball and set up Henshaw’s try. A choke tackle master too. 9/10

11. James Lowe

Booming clearances with his left foot were a feature early on. Had a sloppy pass intercepted to end one attack but some top tackles. No hairband (at one point), no problem. 7/10

10. Johnny Sexton (c)

The new record points scorer in the Six Nations. His tapped penalty was interesting but failing to score cost Ireland field position. But then took control of the Test in the second half. 8/10

9. Jamison Gibson-Park

Copped a hit from Farrell making a catch early and he makes Ireland (even) better. Part of a choke tackle on Arundell and had a brilliant dart down the touchline – always involved. 8/10

1. Andrew Porter

Coughed up three points after not rolling away but pounced for a turnover on Arundell, although finished without quite getting his reward at the scrum. 7/10

2. Dan Sheehan

Ridiculously athletic for a front-row player: check his two tries for evidence. Would not look out of place in midfield and scored twice to cap off a great tournament. 9/10

3. Tadgh Furlong

Does not get many passes wrong but one error put England on the attack. Scrum battle with Genge did not go his way, coughing up two penalties. Made 11 tackles. 7/10

4. Ryan Baird

Dropped a tricky pass under pressure from England’s defence but carried productively, breaking plenty of tackles, and came up with one top turnover from a rip. 8/10

5. James Ryan

Had a fine tournament and that continued here, heaping pressure on England’s line-out in that front pod and was disruptive throughout as England’s pack tired. 7/10

6. Peter O’Mahony

Will have seethed at having the ball stripped by Farrell and was one of the first changes as Ireland looked for impetus from the bench, after four line-out takes. 6/10

7. Josh van der Flier

Cut a brilliant line off Sexton to crack England’s defence. Nice strip on Genge and a key role in the Sheehan try off the maul. Excellent, as always. 8/10

8. Caelan Doris

Not his flashiest performance but Ireland needed him to dig in, which he did through turnovers and bundles of carries and tackles. 7/10


Rob Herring (Sheehan 69), Cian Healy (Porter 75), Tom O’Toole (Furlong 58), Kieran Treadwell (Baird 73), Jack Conan (O’Mahony 56), Conor Murray (Gibson-Park 73), Ross Byrne (Sexton 73), Jimmy O’Brien (Keenan 42). 8/10

Settled Ireland down and put England away. Conan made a brilliant impact, adding physicality and setting up Sheehan’s second try, underlining again how great Ireland’s back row depth is. Murray has developed into an excellent closer and Herring racked up the bonus point try.


15. Freddie Steward

Knew the kicks were coming and that battle with Keenan was a highlight – but then it all went wrong. Harsh? It felt clumsy at worst, ending another good performance from Steward early. 5/10

14. Anthony Watson

Has been great to see him back and looking sharp under the high ball, breaking plenty of tackles and quietly having one of his better games for England. 7/10

13. Henry Slade

One very good catch under a high ball in the second half. England’s attack rarely flashed given the disruption but he held his own defensively too. 6/10

12. Manu Tuilagi

Can he still punch those holes? Seems like it. Lively carry early on into Aki and actually he was quite excellent, especially in defence bringing the physicality. 7/10

11. Henry Arundell

A first Test start. Brushed off by a stepping Hansen early but responded with a nice turnover. Uncertain kick return led to a turnover and was caught in a choke tackle. Tough. 5/10

10. Owen Farrell (c)

Too pumped up, tackling Gibson-Park in the air early, but did well though to stop Sexton on England’s line. Questionable bomb sparked an Ireland attack but good strip on O’Mahony. Never let up arguing his side’s case. 7/10

9. Jack van Poortvliet

Better. Not helped by his pack when having to mop up one line-out but with the forwards not in retreat this week he was able to exert more control and kept hustling. 6/10

1. Ellis Genge

Good early tackle on Sexton set the tone. Always has great hands but stripped by Van der Flier. Harshly penalised for an off the ball tackle but had the edge over Furlong in the scrum. 7/10

2. Jamie George

Caught not rolling away which almost led to a Sexton score and looked hobbled at one stage, but late try off the maul showed welcome resilience after the France game. 7/10

3. Kyle Sinckler

Penalised for going off his feet to allow Ireland to get on the board and for straying offside. Racked up a dozen tackles but may have been a touch lucky at the scrum. 6/10

4. Maro Itoje

Looked pumped up pre-match and that continued. Soft penalty taking out O’Mahony at a line-out and while he toiled, he finished the tournament quietly. 6/10

5. David Ribbans

Left a big hole for Keenan to burst through but can cause problems for defences with his ball-carrying, breaking a couple of tackles, and added welcome bulk. 7/10

6. Lewis Ludlam

Partly to blame for the Sheehan try but grafted away, a step up from last week, and was the main line-out option too as England’s pack improved. 6/10

7. Jack Willis

Early turnover was a welcome sight after a rough outing against France. One cracking hit on Hansen and he had made an astonishing 20 tackles by half-time. Very good, even with his yellow card. 8/10

8. Alex Dombrandt

Late hit on Sexton put England under pressure and he was left on an island chasing Van der Flier before Sheehan’s try. Better here, but was it enough long-term? 5/10


Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola (Genge 63), Dan Cole (Sinckler 67), Nick Isiekwe (Ribbans 69), Ben Curry (Dombrandt 64), Alex Mitchell (Van Poortvliet 69), Marcus Smith, Joe Marchant (Arundell 58). 6/10

Ireland instantly went after Marchant in the kicking game and Ben Curry ended a mixed tournament in and out of the side with some intensity off the bench.

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