Rough guide to Ireland: Jonny Sexton still best in the business

Conor Murray is unchallenged as the top Six Nations No.9 ' and kicks goals too. Picture: Getty.
Conor Murray is unchallenged as the top Six Nations No.9 ' and kicks goals too. Picture: Getty.
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Iain Morrison looks at Scotland’s opponent in the Six Nations next weekend.

1 Cian Healy

He has seen off the challenge of Jack McGrath, at least for the moment, and found his second wind.

2 Rory Best

Not as dynamic as he once was but a solid scrummager and accurate thrower.

3 Tadhg Furlong

He should be back in harness after missing the Welsh game due to injury. Andrew Porter will come off the bench and hope to finish off what Furlong started.

4 James Ryan

The Leinster man is being touted as the “new Paul O’Connell”. Them’s big boots to fill but Ryan is a Lion in waiting. Watch this one.

5 Iain Henderson

Perhaps unfair on Devin Toner who played well against Wales but Henderson is a better all-round option.

6 Peter O’Mahony

He was Lions’ skipper last year, maybe hasn’t hit the heights in this tournament just yet although he remains a fearsome competitor.

7 Dan Leavy

Scored a try against Wales and while he may not be an out-and-out loosie he will prove a much tougher challenge to the Scots at the breakdown.

8 CJ Stander

The Saffa breakaway has another gear just as soon as he locates it. A little less effective with the ball in hand than in his first season.

9 Conor Murray

Started this tourney as the best scrum-half in Europe and he remains there after three rounds. Kicked a goal against Wales.

10 Jonny Sexton

Still the best stand-off in the business, although that quickly-taken tap penalty against Wales was probably unwise. Scored a brilliant winning drop goal against France.

11 Jacob Stockdale

Very tall winger who made that all-important interception without which Ireland could so easily have lost to Wales while enjoying 75 per cent of possession.

12 Bundee Aki

A solid competitor, scored an important try against Wales and look out for him appearing on Sexton’s inside shoulder in phase play.

13 Garry Ringrose

Injury to Chris Farrell opens the door for Ringrose who brings some much-needed cutting edge and excitement to the Irish back line.

14 Keith Earls

Something of an Indian summer for the Munster winger who has been in excellent form for his country, popping up all over the pitch.

15 Rob Kearney

No longer quite so secure under the high ball, as Finn Russell might have noted, poses little danger on the counter but boasts a big boot.