Subscriber OnlyRugby World CupPlayer Ratings

Ireland 59 Tonga 16: How the Irish players rated in their Rugby World Cup Pool B win

Bundee Aki scores two tries in impressive performance as Johnny Sexton breaks Irish scoring record

15 Hugo Keenan

Charles Piutau’s dancing feet left him flailing at times, but it didn’t stop him from contributing handsomely, one brilliant run, good defending twice, one super 50/22 kick and exemplary work under the high ball. Rating: 7

14 Mack Hansen

Stunning footwork for his try bypassing several tacklers while his chasing, tackling and work at rucks was first class, the latter perhaps a surprise but its worth a mention. Rating: 8

13 Garry Ringrose

A fine game, cut some excellent angles to find softer shoulders on the inside and his ability to fight through the tackle got his team in-behind their opponents several times, while also timing his passing perfectly. Furious not to score a try that would have capped his display. Rating: 8

12 Bundee Aki

Ireland’s best player last week and officially ratified as such this time. He was Ireland’s primary outlet in getting over the gain-line in the first half, carried hard and straight and invariably gave his forwards a positive target. Beat 10, not a misprint, defenders. Two tries were a fitting reward. Rating: 9


11 James Lowe

Ireland looked to his left foot to exit their 22 and he obliged with several howitzers that took play from his 22 to past the Tongan 10-metre line. Took his try on the strength of good timing on to Craig Casey’s pass and his power through the tackle. Rating: 7

10 Johnny Sexton

His try saw him break Ronan O’Gara’s point scoring record for Ireland and the manner of his celebration underlined how much it meant to him. Typically assured in all that he did he was withdrawn at half-time with South Africa in mind. Rating: 7

9 Conor Murray

He was used as a playmaker on several occasions, ripping passes back inside and had a hand in some of Ireland’s best moments in the first half. The fumble close to the Tongan line was caused by an opponent who was in the wrong postcode, he was so far offside. A few errors but some excellent work too. Rating: 6

1 Andrew Porter

Excellent at the breakdown, powerful and focused on the ball and although he conceded one penalty, he won another, forced Tonga into making several errors there and slowed down their possession to good effect. Withdrawn at halftime along with the rest of the frontrow. Rating: 7

2 Ronan Kelleher

Back to his best, he had a super game in all facets, his lineout throwing was pinpoint, his carrying was powerful winning collisions in heavy contact, might have had a try but for a little better fortune in trying to dot down while he also managed to take a high ball too. Rating: 8

3 Tadhg Furlong

He thought that his night was over at half-time after a muscular first half shift but a head injury to Finlay Bealham in a tackle saw him return. Won a penalty on his return and then carried two or three more times to good effect. Rating: 7

4 Tadhg Beirne

Another excellent display from a superb athlete, 11 carries, 11 tackles, two lineouts stolen while also making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown. His feet in contact enabled him to maximise the metres made through some hefty collisions. Rating: 8

5 James Ryan

The primary source of lineout possession for Ireland in the first half, his work ethic on both sides of the ball helped Ireland to find their playing rhythm before he was withdrawn around the 50-minute mark. Rating: 7

6 Peter O’Mahony

Sevens lineouts won, typically industrious around the pitch and a real nuisance for Tonga at the breakdown, and two try assists. The yellow card was slightly strange but Wayne Barnes was in no doubt. Rating: 7

7 Josh van der Flier

The carrying side of his game doesn’t always get the plaudits that it might, based on his other virtues but he ran for 45 metres out there and was sharp in picking up loose ball and appreciating the shortest route between two points. Rating: 7

8 Caelan Doris

There was a great deal of quality in his contribution, a try, a try assist, a penalty turnover at a ruck and a team leading 10 tackles in his 50 minutes on the pitch. He made more metres too and beat more defenders than any other forward. For balance he gave away a penalty. Super game. Rating: 8


Rob Herring’s two tries will capture the headlines but all of the bench can be happy enough with their contribution, the only downside was the head injury suffered by Finlay Bealham that will make him doubtful for next Saturday’s game against South Africa in Paris. Rating: 7


Andy Farrell made the right decisions in terms of the team that he selected and was vindicated by the performance. The analysis of Tonga that Ireland did prematch came to fruition particularly with the space they found from passes back inside. A well devised game-plan from the coaching cadre that was pretty well executed by the players. Rating: 8

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer