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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt faces some tough calls as he prepares to whittle his squad down for the World Cup
The best player on the pitch for the 50 minutes he was on. You have to bear in mind the opposition and the occasion in assessing any performance, but the Munster No 10 gave such an assured performance that it was easy to imagine him performing the role in a big World Cup game. Picked his moments a la Owen Farrell and did it well. Ireland need good news on his ankle.
Captain on the day, the Leinster flanker brought a strong physical element to Ireland’s pack play on a day they set out to bully the Italians up front. Ruddock carried lots and lots of dirty ball, hit rucks and made his tackles in a tidy display.
Stepped into the No 12 shirt and delivered a ferociously physical performance that makes him very hard to leave out when you consider the nature of the teams Ireland play in the latter half of the group. Ability to layer on a passing game is key. Could play a big role in Japan.
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