The British & Irish Lions team of the week has a distinctly Irish feel to it after Joe Schmidt’s Ireland defeat the All Blacks in Chicago. After all, they showed what it takes to beat the All Blacks.
15. Rob Kearney
Despite a few missed tackles, there were glimpses of the 2012 European player of the year on Saturday as Kearney danced his way around the All Blacks.
14. Andrew Trimble
Trimble’s defensive performance was good, including a great tackle on Savea with the game in the balance.
13. Jared Payne
There was an early blip in an otherwise good performance from Payne as New Zealand scored their first try. His partnership with Robbie Henshaw continues to blossom.
12. Robbie Henshaw
He was rewarded with a second-half matching-clinching try as Ireland seemed to be on the back foot. His defensive fight in the tackle and at the breakdown were phenomenal.
11. Simon Zebo
An incredible catch saw a much-changed Zebo who hadn’t put in a performance like this under Schmidt. Finished a well worked move for his try and looks back to his best.
10. Johnny Sexton
Three years ago injury hampered him as he missed a crucial penalty. This time he stayed on the field, kicked a conversion and struggled on until the match was almost won.
9. Conor Murray
A stand-out game from the Munster scrum-half — he might just have been the best player on the pitch. He kicked a steady goal while Sexton recovered, but his performance will be remembered for that hit on Julian Savea.
Jordi Murphy touched down for Ireland against the All Blacks on Saturday. Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images
1. Jack McGrath
Defensively he was very good and part of an incredible pack which mauled over the All Blacks for the opening two tries.
2. Rory Best
The Irish captain led by example, was industrious in defence and put his body on the line on numerous occasions to stop the onrushing All Blacks.
3 Tadhg Furlong
To think Furlong was playing All-Ireland league a few years ago and now turning over the World Champions is quite the feat. Tackles on Ben Smith and Kieran Read also helped.
4. Donnacha Ryan
The Munster man has fought back from injury and he worked doggedly to help Ireland to a winning position before being replaced.
5 . Devin Toner
His lineout ability was crucial in putting the All Blacks under increased pressure. No more can questions be asked of filling Paul O’Connell’s boots. He has.
6. CJ Stander
Stander showed his immense strength as he shoved two All Blacks aside to score Ireland’s second try of the game. His brute force is somewhat similar to that of Stephen Ferris.
7. Jordi Murphy
His match was brought to a bitter end through injury but his try and physicality were very impressive.
8. Jamie Heaslip
Heaslip has had his critics in the past but put in a tireless and brilliant performance in victory, topped off by a run off-the-ball which helped create the space for Henshaw to touch down.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/17982820/british-irish-lions-team-first-week-autumn-internationals
Ireland dominate Lions team of the week
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