Iain Henderson and 3 other Irish players who impressed against Wales

IRELAND LOST 16-10 to Warren Gatland’s Wales at the Aviva Stadium today. Read our match report on the game here.

Iain Henderson

Devin Toner might have watched this one with an element of discomfort. Though Toner’s status as a starter for Ireland has been well-earned with his set-piece excellence and accuracy around the pitch, Henderson continues to push and push.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

His barreling try was the clear highlight, but the Ulster lock’s power was notable in almost every contact he was involved in. From big hits to potent counter-rucking and strong carries to important lineout involvements, Henderson put his hand up in a big way.

His footwork and agility only adds to the physical strengths the 23-year-old possesses and this performance will mean the heat on Toner is fiercer than ever.

Robbie Henshaw

Another young Irishman with extraordinary physical prowess, Henshaw was reliably effective with ball in hand against the Welsh this afternoon. Time and again he made yards in contact, even when the situation suggested that goal might be unachievable.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The speed of his foot movement allows Henshaw to find softer shoulders than other centres, while he is always willing to run into the well-defended channels from set-piece too.

Defensively, the Connacht man got some good shots in on Welsh carriers, while his role in the oft-used loop play was central and superbly executed much of the time. Still only 22, Henshaw could be a star of the World Cup.  

Rob Kearney

One of the experienced heads in this Ireland team, Kearney was something of a leader with his individual showing against the Welsh.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Though he didn’t win every single one of his aerial contests, the Louth man was superb under the high ball in an overall sense, continually providing assurance for his teammates from the backfield.

A nice half-break in the first half from a Keith Earls pass on counter attack was hugely encouraging too and is most likely something Kearney wants to add more of in the coming weeks. Composure was the key word for the fullback and Schmidt will continue to provide that for Ireland.

Out on the right wing, Dave Kearney also stood up as he battled for a World Cup place. Excellent in the air at times and providing a number of thrusts with ball in hand, he made Schmidt’s final call in the back three even more difficult.

Peter O’Mahony

One of the Irishmen who enjoyed their first outing of the season this afternoon, the Munster captain can be pleased with his efforts against the Welsh.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Though Ireland were beaten in the breakdown in an overall sense, O’Mahony showed signs of coming to life in that department with one turnover penalty and some strong competition elsewhere.

The lineout is an area where O’Mahony is sometimes under appreciated, but his mobility on the deck and his spring when jumping were sharp. Again, the overall effort from Ireland was shaky at times, but they have the elements there to improve rapidly.

Who impressed you for Ireland in this defeat against the Welsh? Let us know in the comments section below…

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