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Player Ratings: Ireland vs Scotland | Strong second half saves face

Ireland ended their 2020 international season with a 31-16 victory over Scotland in Dublin on Sat...

Ireland ended their 2020 international season with a 31-16 victory over Scotland in Dublin on Saturday, finishing third in the Autumn Nations Cup overall.

Andy Farrell's charges got off to a rough start, trailing for much of the first half and struggling to impose themselves on their visitors.

Ireland team performance

With shades of their performance from a week ago still showing themselves in the first half, Ireland looked to improve drastically in their last half of rugby in 2020.

The second half would prove to be a much improved performance, although the hosts still lacked consistency throughout the half.

Cian Healy 6/10

After a very strong first scrum, Healy gave away a few penalties at scrum time in the first half, but shored it up later in the match. He scored a good try with the support of Peter O'Mahony and Rob Herring, and made his presence felt on defence with 10 tackles, although a missed tackle count of four will not please him or the coaches.

Rob Herring 6/10

Herring added his weight to the po that helped Healy over the line for his try. He was caught napping on defence a few times, none more so than in the lead up to Duhan van der Merwe's try, in which he was bowled over by the smaller man.

Andrew Porter 6/10

Porter was much improved at the scrum than he was a week ago, with the experienced Healy being pinged more often than not. Porter was immense on defence throughout the game, with a 100% tackle success record for his 10 tackles, and even earning himself a turnover.

Porter was less effective than his his scrum partner on attack, but supported his teammates well at the breakdown and in some strong carries.

Caelan Doris and Iain Henderson vs Scotland Ireland's Caelan Doris (centre) tackled by Scotland's James Ritchie (left) and Scotland's Jaco van der Walt (right) during the Autumn Nations Cup match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Iain Henderson 5/10

Henderson put in a lot of work for his 38 minutes on the park, effecting 7 tackles and linking well with his backline in loose play to spread the ball out wide. If he was not substituted for a head injury assessment so early, his rating would be higher.

James Ryan 7/10

James Ryan showed why he is a real talent in the Irish number 5 jersey, putting in a shift of both the unseen stuff as well as making a big impact on defence.

Putting in 13 tackles for no misses, Ryan also made a good few metres with ball in hand and showed some physicality late in the game before he was subbed off that has been sorely missing from his game post-lockdown.

Ireland v Scotland - Autumn Nations Cup 5 December 2020; James Ryan of Ireland wins possession in the lineout ahead of Scotland's Blade Thomson during the Autumn Nations Cup match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

CJ Stander 6.5/10

Stander took a back seat against Scotland, allowing his teammate Caelan Doris to steal the show in the loose forwards. Stander put in a good few powerful carries and opened up some space out wide, almost putting Peter O'Mahony away in the corner but for a footprint on the touchline.

Peter O'Mahony 7/10

O'Mahony was one of the few good things about Ireland's game in the first half, showing good vision for an early grubber for Jacob Stockdale to chase that just ran into touch. He helped power Healy over the line for his try, and showed excellent skill and fast hands in the lead up to Keith Earls' second try.

He was unfortunate not to get a try of his own, as his big foot just grazed the touchline before he crossed over.

Caelan Doris 8/10

The official man of the match on the day, Doris continues to make the Irish number 8 jersey his own. He was powerful with ball in hand throughout, almost never going backwards, and made all of the tackles he was asked to make.

Doris has a real chance at fighting his way into the British & Irish Lions starting XV on their tour to South Africa next year.

Conor Murray vs Scotland Ireland's Conor Murray attempts to gather the ball during the Autumn Nations Cup match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Conor Murray 7/10

Murray was strong on defence throughout the match, making a number of key turnovers and collecting soem difficult balls from the air. Although he might not have always made the right decision from the base of the ruck, he injected pace into the line and got the ball wide when it was needed.

Johnny Sexton 7/10

Sexton's first contribution to the game was a strip in the tackle that could have led to an early try-scoring opportunity but for an uncharacteristic poor pass from Healy. He was not his usual self from the kicking tee in the first half, but shored up his accuracy to keep Ireland ahead in the second.

He put through a brilliant kick in the lead up to Keith Earls' first try, and was dominant in defence.

Ireland v Scotland - Autumn Nations Cup 5 December 2020; Keith Earls of Ireland dives over to score his side's third try during the Autumn Nations Cup match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Keith Earls 7.5/10

Keith Earls was all over the place, constantly looking for work and was rewarded with two tries for his efforts. His defensive stats took a hit, although he showed some great determination to track back and almost stop Duhan van der Merwe from scoring his try for Scotland.

Bundee Aki 6.5/10

Aki was used well off first phase ball, with a number of powerful carries. He was not as dominant in the collisions as h would have expected to be, however Jaco van der Walt and Duncan Taylor did well to wrap Aki up whenever he touched the ball.

Robbie Henshaw 7/10

Henshaw was the quintessential outside centre against Scotland, putting together a number of passes out wide, one of which led directly to Earls' second try. He was content with being the support player for his teammates in the backline, and they were more than happy to take the assist.

Robbie Henshaw vs Scotland Ireland's Robbie Henshaw (right) tackled by Scotland's Duncan Taylor and Jonny Gray during the Autumn Nations Cup match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.  Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Hugo Keenan 6.5/10

Keenan has plugged a major leak in Ireland's play in recent weeks, as he has shown himself to be secure under the high ball. He made some good metres in his limited carries, but might need to inject himself more off of his wing as his international career continues.

Jacob Stockdale 6/10

Stockdale's performance was the pure embodiment of Ireland on the day: up and down, with patches of brilliant and poor. He was beaten outside by Van der Merwe on the way to his first try, although it should not have been his tackle to make.

He was decent enough under the high ball for most of the match, and put in some good kicks in the build up to some strong Irish play. He also made the most metres by an Irish player on the day.

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Andrew Porter Andy Farrell Autumn Nations Cup Bundee Aki CJ Stander Caelan Doris Cian Healy Conor Murray Hugo Keenan Iain Henderson Ireland Jacob Stockdale James Ryan Johnny Sexton Keith Earls Peter O'Mahony Rob Herring Robbie Henshaw Scotland