Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was using this outing, the only Guinness Series game this year against a tier-two nation, to build strength in depth ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

He will have found that there’s still quite a bit of building to do as his second string side struggled to put Fiji away and this was far from the blowout some people were hoping for. Schmidt had to send on the cavalry before the end to ensure what was ultimately and uncomfortable win.

Still, it was a good opportunity for some young and inexperienced players to get a run in front of a big home gate at Test level and this will be a good learning opportunity for them.

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Andrew Conway 8/10

Didn’t have to deal with much high ball in the back field as Fiji were happy to keep the ball in hand and run. Joined in the attack effectively and he set up Ireland’s second try when he held possession until the last second, drawing the tackle, and releasing Dave Kearney to dive over. Made a great break in the second half, but his clever kick through hit the corner flag. Having a good November series so far.

Darren Sweetnam 6/10

Got in well for the first try of the game after just six minutes, set up by a brilliant step inside in the midfield by Joey Carbery, gave away a penalty when he got over-eager in the ruck in a good attacking position and could do little about Fiji’s try just before the break when he was taken out of the game by a clever kick from his opposite wing Nemani Nadolo.

Chris Farrell 5/10

Struggled to make an impact going forward in this game, though he was asked to make plenty of tackles in defence as Fiji’s impact runners battered through the midfield. Pinged early on for going off his feet at the ruck when Ireland were working good field position. Made way for Robbie Henshaw with 15 minutes to go.

Stuart McCloskey 6/10

Got involved, making his tackles and carrying the ball. There were a few occasions when held on to possession when he might have been better off-loading, though will be happy enough with his afternoon’s work and now has another 80 minutes of international rugby under his belt.

Dave Kearney 6/10

The much-maligned Leinster winger got in for a first-half try, Andrew Conway having drawn the tacklers and left him a free run into the corner, and he thought he had a second only for referee Paul Williams to call it back for a knock-on earlier in the move. Gave away Fiji’s second try with an ill-advised pass straight to scorer Timoci Nagusa.

Joey Carbery 7/10

Showed how good a running out-half he is with some beautiful steps, feints and passes, none better than the moves he displayed to set up Sweetnam’s first try. Struggled with his kicks from the tee and hand early on, but this improved. Took a monster hit off Jale Vatubua early on, but bounced straight back. Another big tackle in the second though and he was substituted, carried off and replaced by Ian Keatley.

Kieran Marmion 6/10

The Connacht scrumhalf drove his pack on well enough. Kept the ball moving through the hands more often than not though didn't really take hold of the game.

Jack McGrath 5/10

Made a great interception in the middle of the field, but gave it straight back in his eagerness to put Ireland on the front foot. Solid when it came to scrum-time, but had to make way for the more experienced Cian Healy when Schmidt send on the cavalry early in the second half in a bid to get back on top.

Rob Herring 5/10

His darts found nearly all of their targets from the line-out, though crucially not all, and several of them were short and to the front. Looked as comfortable as any hooker can in the scrum in an international, though he was taken off in the first wave of Schmidt substitutions on 55 minutes with James Tracy taking over.

Andrew Porter 5/10

Didn’t manage to make a huge impact in the loose, though he was solid in the scrum alongside his fellow front-rowers. Taken off after 55 minutes and replaced by Tadhg Furlong.

Ultan Dilane 6/10

A good back-up jumping option in the line out and he managed to stretch his long legs times a few times in possession, though he’ll have been hoping for a bit more as he bids to push his way into the starting team for next weekend’s Argentina test.

Devin Toner 7/10

The most experienced player on the field for Ireland was picked to help steady the scrum and anchor the line-out, which he did. He dominated in the air and took one particularly impressive one-handed catch leaning backward. One of Ireland’s better players when he trotted off after 64 minutes.

Rhys Ruddock 6/10

The captain made way just after the hour mark when the scores were tied at 17-apiece. Forwards often depart around this time, though Ireland’s management will have been keen to get CJ Stander on the field for the final 20 minutes in an attempt to inject some momentum into what was a stuttering performance.

Jordi Murphy 6/10

We didn’t get to see too much of the Leinster man in the loose and struggled at times in and around the ruck and Fiji targeted this area. Like many of his team mates, will learn from 80 more minutes at this level.

Jack Conan 7/10

Made some yards off the base of the scrum, stuck his tackles, was busy in the loose and got in for a break-away try before the break, showing a nice turn off foot and taking a clever line to avoid tacklers after his opposite number Nemani Nagusa put down a pass. Got to see out the full 80 minutes.


Cian Healy 7/10

Made an immediate impact when he made a big run, gaining good position deep inside Fiji territory.

Tadhg Furlong 7/10

Came on 15 minutes into the second half to ensure a bit more go-forward ball when Ireland were under pressure and it paid dividends with a big scrum almost straight away.

James Tracy 7/10

Didn’t have a lot to do, though he kept the scrum solid when he came in for the final 25 minutes of this game.

CJ Stander 6/10

Put in a few big carries, but didn’t make his usual impression on this game.

Ian Keatley 7/10

Came one for the injured Joey Carberry and didn’t miss a beat, kicking the two penalties he was presented with to ensure a narrow win.

Kieran Treadwell 6/10

Came on for the final quarter of an hour in place of Devin Toner.

Robbie Henshaw 6/10

Brought into the midfield for Chris Farrell for the last 16 minutes and didn’t get too many opportunities to involve himself.

Luke McGrath

Not on long enough to rate

Head Coach

Joe Schmidt 7/10

The head coach used this opportunity to get a look at some of his fringe players and he will have learned that some of them have a fair bit of developing ahead of them before they can stake a regular international staring place for themselves. Schmidt won’t be too harshly judged for this performance as it was his only chance this month to try out some new combinations and he will learn far more from this than he would had it been a blow-out win.