RWC 2019 player ratings – New Zealand vs Ireland

By Jacob Jaffa |

Final Score: New Zealand 46 – Ireland 14

Reigning champions New Zealand run rampant to knock lacking Ireland out of the World Cup.

New Zealand

1. Joe Moody – 7/10

Not his most high-profile game but did what was required of him. Solid at scrum time and provided an strong presence as a ball carrier

2. Codie Taylor – 6/10

Usually more dependable in the throwing department. Gave away a couple of steals, notably to O’Mahony, but carried well and scored a well-worked try deep in the second half

3. Nepo Laulala – 6/10

Not much to say about him. Part of very solid scrum from the All Black’s but beyond that did relatively little more than clear rucks. Which is all you need from a prop I suppose.

4. Brodie Retallick – 7/10

Another quiet performance. Industrious in the breakdown and lineout but failed to capture the set piece dominance he enjoyed against England in the Autumn. However he is a key part of the team and is only just back from a nasty injury so has time to get into his work.

5. Sam Whitelock – 8/10

Very useful performance. New Zealand’s key lineout man and a cornerstone of the defence. One of the three in the side who are in line to have been present at all three All Black world cup wins this century if they go all the way.

6. Ardie Savea – 8/10

Not his biggest game but certainly big enough. Did not show the massive carries he is known for but hit tackles hard, made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown and was part of the setup in a couple of tries. Penalised a few times and was largely saved by Ireland’s ineptitude.

7. Sam Cane – 6/10

Put in some good hits and made a couple of turnovers but did not play a key role at the breakdown in the way he normally does. Came off early in the second half, apparently due to injury.

8. Kieran Reid – 9/10

Led from the front, as per usual. Interesting idea to switch with Savea on attacking scrums. Showing great humility and awareness as he recognized that his number 6 has greater carrying power. Instrumental in Codie Taylor’s try, showing off those silky offloading skills which we know he has.

9. Aaron Smith – 10/10

Pretty much a perfect game. Excellent game management, provided his team with quick ball which effectively enabled everything they did. Set the tone early with too tries. Showed excellent vision to snipe for both. The only blemish is that he didn’t make a hat-trick.

10. Richie Mo’Unga – 9/10

It really was a day for the backs. Distributed excellently and with good pace. Sound decision making made only the more noticeable by the poor game had by his opposite number. Has really grown into his role as the central playmaker and works well with Barrett in the backfield. Point deducted for the 2 missed kicks.

11. George Bridge – 8/10

Threatening at all times which was resulted in an excellent try. It takes a special talent to hold Rieko Ioane out of the roll of danger-finisher. Wasn’t quite as active as Reece on the opposite wing

12. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7/10

Did what we have come to expect from him. Hard carries, soft hands, excellent lines. Beyond that he seemed a little subdued. Was not the impact player he can be.

13. Jack Goodhue – 8/10

Really solid game. Made good carries and probed the back three with testing kicks, a few of which troubled Kearney significantly. Points will continue to be deducted from him until he shaves off that mullet. 

14. Sevu Reece – 9/10

He was everywhere. He made tackles, turnovers and deadly carries. Really deserved a try for all his effort but sadly could not find his way across the whitewash. A perfect example of Steve Hansen pulling world class players out of his hat at will, seemingly through sorcery.

15. Beauden Barrett – 10/10

Not just the best Barrett on the field (and there is stiff competition), this was a true MOTM performance from him. Even after handing over the 10 jersey to Mo’Unga you really get a sense that he runs the show. Marshalled the troops well and torched the Irish defence with his blistering pace. Scoring at the close of the first half only spurred him on.


1. Cian Healy – 4/10

Really not at his best. Usually so dangerous in the loose, he did little more than hold up his end of the scrum today. Laziness in defence gave away a try as he failed to cover the fringes. Underwhelming

2. Rory Best – 7/10

Played his heart out in his final game for the nation he has served so well for so long. Lineout was stabilised for the first time in several months and disrupted the breakdown in tandem with O’Mahony. A sad end to his career and he deserves to be remembered for more than Ireland’s habit of choking in quarter finals.

3. Tadhg Furlong – 4/10

See description of Healy really. Perked up a bit at the end to make some good hard carries àla 2018 but far too late.

4. Iain Henderson – 5/10

Dependable in the lineout and strong carries throughout. Quiet game but did little wrong. 

5. James Ryan – 4/10

Much was made of Ryan, with a profile piece before the game hyping him as Ireland’s next Paul O’Connell. Little comparison could be made to the great man in this game, however. Missed an easy lineout catch and blame should be layed with him for the weakness of Ireland’s once unstoppable maul which he failed to marshal properly. Carried well and defended hard but not good enough from him.

6. Peter O’Mahony- 6/10

A game of two halves really. Made a cracking start to the game, continuing his mighty form from this year. Looked like he could be the spark for an Ireland resurgence with a couple of key turnovers. Continued good breakdown work in the second half but let himself down by giving away soft penalties, including an unforgivable penalty when Ireland had the ball on the New Zealand 5 metre line.

7. Josh Van Der Flier – 5/10

A really valiant effort. Worked so hard to slow down the All Black’s ball but gained little traction. Hindered by excellent New Zealand rucking and not his own fault. Carried hard in attack

8. CJ Stander – 4/10

Did very little in attack. Worked hard in defence but similar to a lot of the Irish team, looked as if he were just going through the motions. 

9. Connor Murray – 3/10

We expect better from him. The lynchpin of the team, along with Sexton, and today was a perfect case of what happens when both have bad games. Box-kicking was not inaccurate but was far from as clever as it usually is. Added little imagination in attack.

10. Johnny Sexton- 1/10

A really poor game. Game awareness and management non-existent. Made some incredibly strange decisions, such as lofting the ball back to the All Blacks when Ireland had momentum in the 22. Replaced without the excuse of injury. When the team rests so much on his performance, he can only have himself to blame. 

11. Jacob Stockdale – 3/10

Did largely nothing. A disappointment considering how dangerous he often is. Starved of ball by solid defence and sloppiness in the Irish midfield.

12. Robbie Henshaw – 4/10

Not a good game but far better than he had at full back against England. Nearly plummeted down to a 1/10 by dropping a simple score but redeemed himself by scoring off the next play. 

13. Gary Ringrose – 4/10

Has been so much better. One wonders if the clash of heads between himself and Henshaw early on scrambled his eggs because he was not on the ball today. Usually such a dangerous character, he was suffocated by the All Black’s defensive front.

14. Keith Earls – 3/10

Like Stockdale he was starved of ball. Usually one of Sexton’s favourite targets, he was largely ignored today. Far from his best kick-chasing performance, but one suspects that is partially due to the classic All Black obstruction that too often goes unnoticed.

15. Rob Kearney – 2/10

Began the game well enough, tracking the ball and covering ground nicely as we all know he can. The only man to follow through with kick chase, it seemed, but squandered this by being far less able under the high ball than I have ever seen him. Would have made a line break in the first half but amateurishly failed to hold his depth, leading to Barrett’s try. Unforgivable. Basic error, really a microcosm of Ireland’s game.